Pakistani PM to visit Saudi Arabia to witness military exercise

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Islamabad, Mar 7: Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will visit Saudi Arabia this week to witness a major military exercise by troops of several Muslim countries to improve training in responding to the threat posed by terror groups.

"The Prime Minister will undertake a visit to Saudi Arabia on March 9-11," the Foreign Office said, citing the invitation extended by King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud.

Nawaz Sharif

It said a large number of other Heads of State and Government have been invited to witness the ongoing military exercise 'North Thunder' and its closing ceremony.

Troops from 21 countries, including Pakistan, are participating in the exercise, in the northern region of Saudi Arabia.

"The main goal of the exercise is to improve training in responding to the threat posed by terrorist groups," the statement said. Pakistan enjoys cordial relations with Saudi Arabia and both countries enjoy multi-faceted cooperation, including in the fields of defence and counter-terrorism.

Pakistan holds the Saudi Arabia has affirmed that "we will always stand shoulder to shoulder with our Saudi brethren against any threat to territorial integrity and sovereignty of Saudi Arabia," the Foreign Office statement said.

It said Pakistan has consistently supported all regional and international efforts to combat militancy, extremism and terrorism and, to this end, has extended its full support and cooperation to the international community.

Pakistan earlier had reservation on joining the 34-member coalition formed by Saudi Arabia to fight terrorism but later agreed to join the coalition.

Pakistan, however, said it will not deploy troops in foreign countries in combat role but share intelligence with Saudi Arabia to counter terrorism.

PTI

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