TODAY.AZ / Business

World powers confront over Pakistan

15 March 2012 [11:16] - TODAY.AZ
About which reset can we speak, if the United States and Russia from time to time show polar positions on the major international problems? Examples abound: expansion of NATO toward Russia's borders, placement of missile defense in Europe, attitude to confrontation in Libya which has already become a history, today's confrontation in Syria, the parties' positions regarding Iran's nuclear program. There are also more subtle forms of confrontation, such as in Central Asia. If we remove the rhetoric and look at the action, it makes grade as a continuation of the Cold War. The names, as well as the scope and methods, in this case are not of fundamental importance, the main thing is that the essence of what is happening doesn't change: the confrontation, though not direct, as in the Caribbean crisis continues, and often without taking into account interests of third countries involved in it.

Pakistan by virtue of a range of circumstances may be the next target in the struggle for spheres of influence. Until recently, this question was not at agenda at all, Pakistan was, and is likely to remain a reliable strategic ally of the United States. Not mentioning the well-known fact in the recent cooling of US-Pakistani relations, let's focus only on one thing - the issue of gas pipeline project from Iran to Pakistan. Pakistan's economy, according to international organizations, is one of the fastest growing in the world. Acute need to provide it with hydrocarbon fuel makes Islamabad to act strictly from the perspective of its economic interests. United States, for obvious reasons, are dead set against this project, as well as any other, where the word Iran is. The U.S. uses such arguments as persuasion of Islamabad that Iran is an unreliable partner, and veiled threats, such as the submitting to Congress in February issue of self-determination of Balochistan province.

Pakistani press reported that these days the Pakistani side received from Russia a proposal to grant the right to build the Pakistani section of the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline to Gazprom hors concours. As pointed out by the Pakistani media, in this case Moscow will provide funding for the project, which costs $1.2 billion. Pakistan itself has limited means to finance the project.

Isn't it an episode of the Cold War? However, we must mention that this is one of the few occasions when it is not Russia but the U.S. that needs to find a counter plea on a given initiative.

Recently, according to some media reports, the administration of Pakistani President said that new Russian President Vladimir Putin accepted the invitation of Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Reza Gilani to visit this country. If the information is correct, then this will be the first visit of Russian President to Pakistan since 1948, i.e. since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries (the Russian Federation as the successor to the USSR), and it will also confirm the assumption that Pakistan is becoming another field of conflict of interests between the two great powers.

You can't make an omelet without breaking eggs, and no end in sight. The economy of Pakistan, nearly half of consumed energy resources of which falls to natural gas could become hostage to high politics.

Pakistan's proven gas reserves, which, according to the international energy agencies are about 900 billion cubic meters, while maintaining the current production capacity, will reduce dramatically in 20-25 years. In 1999, Pakistan consumed 20.3 billion cubic meters of gas per year. After 10 years, in 2009, the figure nearly doubled - to 38.7 billion cubic meters. In 2015, this level is expected to reach 92 billion cubic meters. It is assumed that during this time natural gas production in the country will reduce to 31.5 billion cubic meters. Ten years later, Pakistan will need import of 60 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year to meet the domestic needs.


Azer Ahmedbeyli /Trend/
URL: http://www.today.az/news/business/104121.html

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