ISLAMABAD – Russian President Vladimir Putin is likely to visit Pakistan in May next year to inaugurate the US$2 billion Liquefied National Gas (LNG) pipeline project.

According to a report by The News, arrangements for Putin’s visit have been initiated as the visit would help shape  bilateral relations between Pakistan and Russia for mutual benefit.

“The high-level visit is supposed to see the Russian president inaugurate the US$2 billion dollar LNG North-South Pipeline Project from Karachi to Lahore, which would have the potential of opening a new era of strategic and political alliance between the two countries,” the sources said as quoted by a leading daily.

Putin is expected to visit Pakistan in May but an official announcement in this regard would be made in April.

The diplomatic sources said the geo-strategic position of Pakistan and challenges and interests shared by the two countries compelled Russia to work for better and expanded bilateral relations with Pakistan, especially in the context of some highly-important political issues.

The sources said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, during his meeting with a Russian delegation led by co-chairman of Russia-Pakistan Inter-Governmental Commission (IGC) on Economic, Trade and Scientific Cooperation, formally invited Russian President Vladimir Putin to pay a visit to Pakistan.

Earlier, rumors were rife that Russia showed willingness to join multi-billion dollars China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) however, Russian official gainsaid it.

Putin’s visit would be pivotal in the aftermath of frayed relations between Russia and US and Pakistan’s growing importance in South-Asia.

At present, no official statement from Pakistan and Russia has been given regarding Putin’s visit.