RIYADH, 17 October 2004 — The Kingdom is to send more Saudi soldiers to Pakistan for training.
“Currently some 150 to 200 Saudi servicemen are being trained at a time and this number is likely to increase after the recent decision by the Kingdom to send more soldiers for training in naval, air and military services,” Pakistan Ambassador retired Adm. Abdul Aziz Mirza told Arab News.
The decision for renewed military cooperation between the two countries was taken during the recent talks between Assistant Minister for Defense Prince Khaled ibn Sultan and Defense Minister Rao Sikandar Iqbal in Islamabad. He said Prince Khaled took delivery of 25 Super Mushak aircraft for which a deal was struck last year. “These are trainer aircraft that will be used mainly by the Saudi Air Force,” the envoy said.
The ambassador pointed out that Prince Khaled’s visit has given an impetus to bilateral relations particularly in the field of defense and hoped it will be of mutual benefit to the two countries. “Pakistan enjoys deep-rooted and everlasting relationship with the Kingdom and has unanimity of views on regional and international issues,” Mirza added.
Meanwhile, Al-Khaled tanks, manufactured by Pakistan, would be handed over to Saudi Arabia for trial next summer.
According to a statement from the Defense Ministry, Pakistan also offered to undertake a joint venture for production of arms and ammunition, armored vehicles, Anza missiles and Al-Khaled tanks.
In the talks at the Defense Ministry, both sides agreed on a wide range of proposals, including the holding of joint exercises, enhancement of interaction through frequent exchange of officials and holding of seminars.
Pakistan offered all types of training to the Saudi armed forces and Prince Khaled accepted the offer.