With the inauguration of Gwadar deep seaport, another milestone has been added to the evolving economic relations between Pakistan and China. The Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipeline project is also in the pipeline and is expected to be finalized anytime in the near future. Pakistan is specifically targeting China's interest as the two countries are cementing their economic relations through further measures to bolster a strategic partnership. The two countries have also proposed to establish an international joint fund to support the development of energy projects by Chinese private oil companies in Pakistan. According to informed sources, the Chinese petroleum industry has indicated an interest in shifting its excess capacity to Gwadar. A framework agreement on energy cooperation was signed in Beijing on February 24, 2006 between the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources of Pakistan and the National Development Reforms Commission of China. The China Chamber of Commerce for Petroleum Industry (CCPI) and All China Federation of Industry and Commerce (ACFIC) conveyed to Pakistani authorities during a recent visit that the Chinese petroleum industry was keen to invest in Pakistan's energy sector. The ACFIC and CCPI indicated that both the public and private sectors are willing to cooperate in energy projects in Pakistan. This cooperation will not be restricted to building an oil pipeline to set up an energy corridor to Gwadar, but also in shifting energy related industry to Pakistan. This way both countries stand to enhance existing energy cooperation and development including; oil and gas exploration activities in Pakistan; promote development of renewable energy resources, capacity building in hydrocarbon research and development; and encourage private sectors as well as financial institutions of both countries to participate in energy cooperation to realize joint ventures and investments. -MADEEHA RASUL RAJA, Rawalpindi, via e-mail, January 22.