Beyond the pipeline politics: Prospects of Pakistan-Turkmenistan relations

By Nasurullah Brohi

Pakistan has been a constant ardent to augment its relationship with the countries in the Central Asian region. The warmth of pursuing such foreign policy is particularly inspired with the historic experiences of non-interference and the mutual respect for each other’s views on different regional and international issues. This affection further ranges from the common bonds of religion in addition with the cultural and linguistic closeness. Apart from such notions, the exceptional trade and business opportunities within the Central Asian countries is the potential means that also enthuses to enhance the bilateral and multilateral relationship between the CARs and Pakistan. Particularly, the oil and natural gas a rich country of Central Asia, Turkmenistan has always been viewed an important partner for cooperation by Pakistan.

The recent visit of the Turkmenistan’s President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamadov to Pakistan was an illustration of the reality to explore a variety of ways to further boost up the ties between the both sides. This occasion also provided the consideration for jotting down a new era of the vast cooperation and the greater regional integration. Pakistan being energy strived country critically needs Turkmenistan support for overcoming the enduring problem. To address the energy crisis, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed to further explore the cooperation in the fields of energy was signed between Pakistani and Turkmen Petroleum and the Oil and Gas Ministries respectively. The two sides once again vowed for the timely completion of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project.

The Pakistani side further demonstrated its firmness about the mutually beneficial project and vowed its commitment for all sort of support to expedite the implementation process of the long cherished dream of TAPI project. Pakistan expressed its high appreciation for Turkmenistan’s offers of assisting it by adding 1000MW in its electric grids to overcome the current electric shortfall in the country. Whereas, the prospective role and the opportunities encompassed for the whole region through the China-Pakistan-Economic Corridor (CPEC) and with Pakistan’s extended assistance, the project will also provide the Turkmenistan to export and exploit the opportunities in the regional and international market through its trade and commerce potential through the project.

To address the issues of communication space and the less familiarity of the two nations about each other’s language, a particular MoU was signed between the Pakistan’s National University of Modern Languages (NUML) and the Magtymguly Turkmen State University (MTSU). In the modern era and the changing pace of the diplomatic discourse, the MoU is realization of the fact that without appropriate communication between the people of two sides it would be really hard to keep sustaining the brotherly ties of the two nations in the coming future.

The visit of President Gurbanguly is viewed in Pakistan as a ray of great hope in terms of manifold opportunities that cover a great deal of the prospects to cover the issues and moreover, inspires the two sides for the eager pursuance of mutually beneficial objectives. During his visit Pakistan and Turkmenistan inked over eight accords and Memorandums of the Understanding ranging from areas of cooperation that include closer interaction and cooperation for strict check over the money circulation and money laundering that is a prime source of distress in the region. It was high time for such crucial visit which has successfully initiated a process of the concrete steps such as the exchange of financial intelligence between the two sides to tackle the menace of the radicalization and terrorism in a greater regional and international interest.

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Nasurullah Brohi

Nasurullah Brohi works as a Research Fellow at the Strategic Vision Institute in Islamabad and can be reached at [email protected]

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