Saudi Arabia, Pakistan to Increase Defense Ties
Saudi Arabia has formally launched an effort to increase defense ties with Pakistan.
After a year of negotiations, Saudi defense sources and official media have announced a series of steps taken to increase cooperation with Islamabad, said Middle East Newsline (MENL).
The step include increased military training as well as the first joint defense industrial project.
Defense sources were quoted by the news agency as saying that the two countries will work to improve and augment military exercises and training. This includes the main exercise -- termed the Sea Breeze naval maneuvers. The last such exercise was held in January, and ended early February.
According to Jane’s Defense weekly in the first week of March, the Royal Saudi and Pakistan navies concluded a series of joint maneuvers, dubbed Seaspark 2001 began in the Arabian Sea on 23 January and included three separate phases - harbor defense, tactical maneuvers and an analytical phase.
Saudi official newspapers have also highlighted the first defense project with Pakistan. This would mark the establishment of a weapons factory near Riyadh.
The Riyadh-based Al Watan daily quoted Saudi military sources as saying that the factory will first produce such weapons as automatic and semi-automatic machine guns as well as ammunition.
The plant will eventually expand production to other weaponry, the newspaper said on Tuesday. Pakistan is regarded as the closest Muslim ally to Saudi Arabia.
On Thursday, Saudi Arabia hosted what officials described as the first meeting of Gulf Cooperation Council commanders near Riyadh. The meeting will last two days, said MENL -- Albawaba.com