India Is Purchasing Russian Coal With Yuan And So Should Pakistan
Pakistan could have been the first to set the example of purchasing resources from Russia with yuan had the currency swap with China that its Ambassador to Moscow said his country’s businessmen were already employing in early June been utilized by the state to cut at least one such deal by this time. Instead, India now has the global bragging rights in this respect after purchasing Russian coal with yuan even though Pakistan is considered to be China’s closest partner in the region.
India and Pakistan don’t like being compared with one another, though former Prime Minister Khan recently began to change that after praising his country’s rival on several occasions for valiantly safeguarding its strategic autonomy in the face of the US-led West’s pressure for it to condemn and sanction Russia. In particular, he pointed to India dramatically scaling up its purchase of Russian oil after Moscow offered steep discounts, which the ousted leader also says that he was in the process of agreeing to with President Putin during his trip to Moscow in late February. If it wasn’t for the post-modern coup against him, he claims, Pakistan could already be repeating the dividends of discounted Russian oil too and wouldn’t have had to spike prices at home.
After weeks of sending mixed signals to Russia about the fate of these reported negotiations, the Pakistani Ambassador to that country told the Valdai Club during their first-ever conference on bilateral relations in early June that Islamabad still indeed remained interested in purchasing oil from that Eurasian Great Power. He also revealed that Pakistani businessmen were already employing a currency swap with China to facilitate trade with Russia. This was followed a week later by the Russian Ambassador to Pakistan confirming that talks were ongoing, though everything seemingly hit a snag near the end of June when state-controlled Pakistan International Airlines wasn’t able to pay Russia’s overflight charges, which suggested that the state wasn’t employing the aforementioned currency swap.
What makes this all the more concerning isn’t just that it’s creating further uncertainty about Pakistan’s food and fuel security, but also that Reuters just published a report citing an Indian customs document alleging that this neighbouring country just employed its own currency swap with China for facilitating the import of Russian coal. Not only that, but the report came out shortly after Pakistan announced that it’ll purchase what it expected would be discounted coal from the Taliban in rupees but then that armed group reportedly spiked the price by over two times. With Russia compelled to redirect its coal exports to the Global South after the US-led West’s unprecedented sanctions against it might slash its production by 17% and sales by 30%, Pakistan would do well to explore purchasing some from it.
Therein lies the challenge, however, since it’s clear that the previously mentioned currency swap with China that’s being utilized by Pakistani businessmen according to that country’s Ambassador to Russia obviously wasn’t used to help state-owned PIA pay its overflight charges to Moscow and has yet to lead to a breakthrough over talks to import discounted Russian oil. Instead of possibly following India’s lead by purchasing Russian coal with yuan, Pakistan could have been the first to set such an example had the currency swap that was just touched upon been earlier utilized for clinching any kind of deal with Moscow, whether over coal, food, fuel, or whatever else. Instead, India now has the global bragging rights in this respect even though Pakistan is considered to be China’s closest partner in the region.
From the abovementioned sequence of events and associated insight, it’s clear that Pakistan’s foreign policy has at the very least become confused since early April’s post-modern coup against former Prime Minister Khan, which contradicts the official narrative of those who replaced him, the stakeholders who back them, and their media allies. All of this goes to show that regime changes do indeed have consequences, especially when the US is accused of playing a role. From paving the path that India would have followed by using yuan to facilitate resource imports from Russia, Pakistan is now forced to possibly consider following its lead after having lost nearly one-quarter of a year dillydallying over these deals. Hopefully it’ll at the very least soon realize the pragmatism of purchasing Russian coal with yuan.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Voice of East.