PM, army chief in Saudi Arabia to inspect IMCTC exercises

RIYADH: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa arrived in Saudi Arabia on Sunday to inspect the exercises of the Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition (IMCTC). 

A high-level delegation, including the Defense Minister Khurram Dastgir, is accompanying Prime Minister Abbasi.

Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi exchanging views with Governer Dammam Sauf bin Nayaf Al-Saud upon his arrival at King Abdulaziz Air Base Dhahran here on April 15, 2018. Photo: PID

The delegation will also witness the second stage of the Joint Gulf Shield military exercise, which has started in Saudi Arabia in collaboration with 24 countries to increase its defense cooperation with the leading world nations. 

Saudi King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz had extended invitations to leading countries to participate in the Joint Gulf Shield military exercise, including the United States, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, and Turkey. 

The month-long exercise includes units from the army, navy, air force, and the special forces.

The event will also be attended by a number of leaders from participating countries who will oversee military parades from various divisions.

Defense analysts believe that the military exercise is considered one of the largest in the region, both in terms of the number of participating countries and the quality of its weapons.

Two ships of Pakistan Navy, PNS Tipu Sultan and PNS Himmat, along with a ship of Pakistan Maritime Security Agency, PMSS Basol, also took part in the joint military exercise.

The defense analysts noted that one of the most important aims of the exercise was to activate the concept of joint military combat operations plans to counter hostile acts that threaten the security and stability of the region.

Tens of thousands of soldiers from various Arab countries, Asia and Africa participated in the drills.