Pakistan confirms participation in Saudi-led military drills

Updated: 2016-02-16 09:21


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ISLAMABAD - Pakistan has confirmed its participation in military exercises in Saudi Arabia along with other Islamic nations.

The confirmation came on Monday, a day after the Saudi Press Agency reported that the military forces from 20 countries are scheduled to begin military maneuver in Saudi Arbia.

The news agency described the maneuver, dubbed "Thunder of North," as the region's most important military drills involving ground, air and naval forces.

In response to a media question regarding joint military exercise in Saudi Arabia, the Pakistani foreign ministry said the country is participating in a multi-national exercise on counter-terrorism being held in Saudi Arabia.

"A small Pakistani defence contingent also remains stationed in Saudi Arabia under a bilateral arrangement," the foreign ministry spokesperson said late on Monday.

The SPA said in addition to the six Gulf countries of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Qatar, other participating countries include Chad, Egypt, Jordan, Malaysia, Morocco, Pakistan, Senegal and Tunisia.

The maneuver comes as Saudi considers participating in land operations in cooperation with its international allies to fight the Islamic State (IS) militant group in Syria.

The Pakistani Foreign Ministry said both countries have training exchanges in which trainers are sent to Saudi Arabia for multiple training areas and Saudi Armed Forces personnel also receive training in Pakistan.

"Given their close fraternal ties, Pakistan and Saudi-Arabia have cooperated in the field of defence for the past many decades. This includes military exercises and intense training cooperation in various domains," it said.