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Pak to respond if Saudi sovereignty threatened: Army chief

raheelsharif

Islamabad: Pakistan’s army chief General Raheel Sharif said today that any threat to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Saudi Arabia will evoke a strong response from Islamabad.

He was addressing the concluding ceremony of Pak-Saudi Joint Training Exercise Al-Shibab at the National Counter Terrorism Centre, Pabbi near Jhelum.

Gen Sharif said Pakistan and Saudi Arabia enjoy strong and brotherly relations, which have a long history of deep-rooted cooperation, the Pakistani army said in a statement.

“Any threat to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Saudi Arabia will evoke a strong response from Pakistan,” he said.

The exercise focused on counter-terrorism training of the special operation forces of Pakistan and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia which included cordon and search operations, air- dropping and heli-lifting of special forces for operations against terrorist’s activities and their hideouts.

“This exercise signifies the joint effort of our two nations against terrorism and we will defeat this menace in all its forms and manifestation,” he said.

A six-member delegation of the Saudi military, led by General Mufleh Bin Saleem Al-Otaibi, commander special forces of Saudi Arabia, was also present on the occasion.

Separately, Foreign Office spokesman Qazi Khalilullah said Pakistan and Saudi Arabia were brotherly countries and enjoyed friendly and cooperative relations and have close cooperation in many fields including defence and security.

He said the joint exercise started two weeks ago and focused at affording an opportunity to explore new avenues of cooperation to fight terrorism and enhance skills.

The spokesperson said the bilateral cooperation to counter terrorism was vital as Pakistan wa deeply concerned at the increasing threats to regional peace and stability in the Middle East and believed that there was dire need to ensure that the region does not get further destabilised by terrorist groups.