Pakistan Army chief discusses military cooperation, matters of ‘common concern’ during meeting
Pakistan Army chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa visited Saudi Arabia on Monday and conducted meetings with his counterpart in the Gulf kingdom, according to a statement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).
“COAS [Chief of Army Staff] met His Excellency General (Staff) Fayiadh bin Ha’med Al-Rowaily Chief of General Staff and His Royal Highness Lieutenant General (Staff) Fahad bin Turki Al Saud Commander Joint Forces, KSA,” read the statement. “Military to military ties including training exchanges were focus of the meetings,” it said, adding that the Army chief had been received by Saudi Arabia’s Chief of General Staff of Armed Forces Gen. Fayyad Al-Ruwaili upon his arrival at the defense ministry.
“During the meeting, prospects for military cooperation and ways to support and boost it were reviewed, in addition to matters of common concern,” the Saudi government said in its statement on the meeting.
The Army chief also met Saudi Deputy Minister of Defense Khalid bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, with an ISPR statement saying the two discussed matters of mutual interest, including “bilateral defense, security cooperation and regional security.”
Gen. Bajwa arrived in Saudi Arabia on Monday morning, with military spokesman Maj. Gen. Babar Iftikhar telling Reuters that the meeting was “pre-planned” mostly focused on “military affairs.” However, the visit has prompted much discussion in Pakistan, as it coincides with strained ties between the two states following Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi’s criticism of the Gulf kingdom’s refusal to host an Organization for Islamic Cooperation meeting on India-held Kashmir.
Analysts have claimed that Gen. Bajwa’s visit would seek to downplay the incident. Inter-Services Intelligence Director General Lt. Gen. Faiz Hameed is also accompanying him.