News / Asia

Saudi-Pakistan Military Ties Getting Stronger

A handout photo released by the Press Information Department (PID) shows Pakistani Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif (R) welcoming Saudi Crown Prince Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al- Saud at the Prime Minister's House in Islamabad. Feb. 17, 2014 (AFP)
A handout photo released by the Press Information Department (PID) shows Pakistani Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif (R) welcoming Saudi Crown Prince Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al- Saud at the Prime Minister's House in Islamabad. Feb. 17, 2014 (AFP)
Kokab Farshori
Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz, who is Saudi Arabia’s deputy prime minister and defense minister has just concluded an official visit to Pakistan.  Some defense experts say that Saudi Arabia’s close military ties with Pakistan, though not new, now have a new dimension - namely countering the threat of a nuclear-capable Iran.
Some security experts fear that one of the unintended consequences of international efforts to reach a nuclear deal with Iran could be to put its Gulf rival Saudi Arabia on a fast track to boost its own military capability in an unprecedented way. 
Ali Sherazi is Pakistan’s former ambassador to Saudi Arabia, and speaking to VOA’s Deewa Radio he says Riyadh may fear a nuclear deal could end economic sanctions on Iran, enabling it to secretly pursue its ambitions.
“Iran is seeking to be a nuclear power and Saudi Arabia as a regional power, cannot ignore this, he said.” 
With one of the largest armies in the world and the only declared nuclear power among the Muslim states, Pakistan is in a unique position to assist Saudi Arabia with its defense needs. 
Sarfraz Khan, the chairman of the Area Study Center at the University of Peshawar, says Iran and Saudi Arabia have conflicting interests in the region and Pakistan can strengthen the Saudi position. 
“To counter Iran’s influence, Saudi Arabia has often looked towards Pakistan’s help,” he told Deewa Radio. 
Last year, the BBC reported that Saudi Arabia has invested in Pakistan’s nuclear weapons projects.  Both Pakistan and Saudi Arabia denied the report.
But there is no denying that the military cooperation between the two countries is strong and getting stronger.  The joint statement issued Monday at the end of Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz visit says “The two sides also agreed on the need to enhance bilateral cooperation in the field of defense.”
This cooperation comes in many forms, including training of Saudi pilots by the Pakistan Air Force and the deployment of Pakistani troops to Saudi Arabia to provide security. 
Nauman Wazir, a defense analyst and former air commodore of Pakistan's Air Force, says now Pakistan may sell JF-17 Thunder combat jets and trainer aircraft to Saudi Arabia. 
“For Saudi Arabia, there is no better aircraft than the JF-17 as a trainer and as a fighter plane.  It has the capability to support the troops on the ground,” Wazir told Deewa.  
But the two countries' joint statement does not specify if the Saudis are interested in buying jets from Pakistan.
Ali Sherazi also says say Iran is not the only reason Saudi Arabia wants close military ties with Islamabad. They say Pakistan can also help the oil-rich kingdom combat the threat from al-Qaida and border incursions from neighboring Yemen.
“Al-Qaida is also seen as a threat in Saudi Arabia.  On top of that the regional situation like the infiltration from Yemen is a factor and that makes the Saudi threat perception multi-dimensional,” Sherazi said.
Pakistan has its own disputes with Tehran largely focused on the tense border between Iran and Pakistan’s Balochistan province.  Five Iranian border guards were seized recently by militants and taken across the border into Balochistan, prompting Iran to warn that it might send forces across the border to free them.  Pakistan expressed “serious concern” over the remarks and tense ties with Iran are likely to push Islamabad and Riyadh closer together say analysts.  
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif also enjoys exceptionally close ties with senior members of the Saudi royal family.  When Sharif was toppled in a bloodless military coup in 1999, Saudi Arabia intervened and military chief, Pervez Musharraf allowed Sharif and his family to travel into exile in Saudi Arabia.  Mehmood Shah, a former Pakistani army brigadier and senior official in Pakistan’s intelligence agency, the ISI says those close ties will only strengthen ties between Islamabad and Riyadh.
“During former President Zardari’s tenure relations with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia were not really warm but as we know that PM Sharif has good relations with the Saudi ruling family and that further strengthens the bilateral ties,” Shah told Deewa.

You May Like

Nearly Every Job in America Mapped in Detail

A nifty map pinpoints practically every job in the United States, revealing the economic character of America’s metropolitan areas, which also helps to inform the local culture

Corruption Busting Is Her Game

South African activist is building 'international online community of thousands of corruption fighters'

Former SAF Businessman Gives Books, Love of Reading to Students

Steve Tsakaris now involved in nonprofit Read to Rise, which distributes books in Soweto, encourages lower-grade primary school students to read

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: hammad from: pakistan
February 26, 2014 10:38 AM
Pakistan is a democratic will be worse for Pakistan to support any sectarian conflict in muslim world. Being nuclear and strong democratic country Pakistan should play positive role rather then helping hand for any rival saudi arabi is stronger enough to give financial support to all the poor muslim countriess but in this sector they are dumb and deaf (our only importance is just because of our defence and that defence should be for us not as(RENT AN ARMY) we are same like indians in arab countries and we should have to treat them equally

by: Jamil M Chaudri from: Huntington, WV
February 22, 2014 3:57 PM
Iran is not a militarist nation; Iran is a civilizing nation. Iran is a democratic state. Iran has not threatened any neighbour, far or near. Nations have ideologies. Iran also has a state ideology. Iran’s state ideology is no different from that of Sandi Arabia, or that of Pakistan.
It is foreign powers trying to keep these nations under their tutelage, by stymieing their growth and interjecting alien and aberrant notions into their ideologies that are putting seeds of distrust between them.
It does not beget Pakistan anything to favour one Muslim nation over another. For 700 years the State language of the lands comprising the Islamic Republic of Pakistan was Persian. The Iranian Head of State was the first Foreign Head of State to visit Pakistan. The Pakis are an Irianianised people. Now, why would Pakia favour a despotic/undemocratic (albeit Rich & Arab) state over democratic Iran?
If a single nation possesses nuclear armaments, all nations have the RIGHT to possess such armaments. It is an unalienable right, which no other nation can usurp. Iran as well as any Arab nation or even Nauru, Tuvalu, and San Marino, have the God given right to possess any weapon they feel they need to safeguard their civilization.

by: Rabia from: Ryadh
February 20, 2014 12:12 PM
It was much of the faulty assumption made against Pakistan selling nuclear to Saudia. Despite media and political claims on this Saudi’s ambitions to the contrary Pakistan has always behaved like a responsible nuclear state. Despite these rumors, the Pakistanis recognize that the primary threats to the security and stability of Saudi Arabia are domestic against which nuclear weapons have no value but by assisting Riyadh for nuclear deterrent will elevate grave apprehensions in international community. Actually, providing a complete nuclear weapon would come at unlimited political cost i.e. Pakistan will be further treated as unreliable nuclear state and Washington would drive into further nuclear cooperation with India.
In Response

by: Abdullah from: Houston, Texas
March 15, 2014 11:45 PM
In my opinion, time has come to choose sides. Pakistan cant always stay neutral. Siding with Saudi Arabia is the best thing for Pakistan. Regardless of what Washington thinks, Pakistan must do what is right by Saudi Arabia and what is right by its own interests. Washington will only do what it chooses to do. That will never be in Pakistan's favor and never has been.

by: Sabir Akbar from: Islamabad
February 20, 2014 12:00 PM
Pakistan and Iran had good relations diplomatically and strategically but since the Iran nuclear deal Saudi Arabia felt threaten as rivals if Iran gets the nuclear weapon. Imbalance of power and with the weapon of mass destruction Iran can attack Saudia, to balance the power in the region. Now Saudia is in search of nuclear weapons deal and strategic assets, with good relations with Pakistan. Pakistan can only accept the defense cooperation and civil nuclear cooperation but transfer of nuclear weapons is not in Pakistan benefit and policies.

by: Anonymous
February 20, 2014 11:16 AM
Well before the uprisings of the so-called Arab Spring, King Abdullah regarded the threat of a nuclear Iran as a major destabilizing force. More than 10 years ago, the Guardian reported the kingdom was debating a strategy paper setting out three options: acquiring a nuclear capability of its own, maintaining or entering into an alliance with an existing nuclear power that would offer protection, or trying to reach a regional agreement on a nuclear-free Middle East. Pakistan and Saudis have strong relations but if there is any possibility of Saudi's procurement of nuclear weapon, it will be procured from USA.

by: Khan Batuta from: UAE
February 20, 2014 7:15 AM
News of nuclear cooperation with Saudi Arabia is baseless and devoid of truth.

by: hassan from: somalia
February 20, 2014 1:42 AM
Bilateral between muslin nations never remain strong and last longing because America and its European allies do not want see allying muslin nations. they always work out on a formula to cut any ties between muslin nations. so i have no good hope about Saudi and Pakistani new ties.

February 20, 2014 1:27 AM
There is nothing new in this bilateral cooperation of two countries. Pakistan and Saudi Arabia has a long history of cooperation and coordination with each other. Viewing this visit within the parameters of Iranian nuclear deal than we have to accept certain specific things between the two countries. Although there is a brotherhood reflection but Pakistan can never compromise on its nuclear assets. Its nuclear weapons are primarily for the deterrence purpose against the threats to its statehood particularly. The country can never compromise on the safety and security of its nuclear technology and skills.

by: al habeeb from: Dubai
February 20, 2014 12:11 AM
Pakistan and Saudi Arabia has friendly relations and both states are cooperating in many areas of developments. As the world is turning towards security conciousness that's why it is need of time to establish strong military relations.

by: JKF2 from: Great North (Canada)
February 19, 2014 9:57 PM
A totally predictable outcome, KSA is re-invigorating ties with Pakistan, due to the perceived abandonment of KSA vis a vis the situation developing wrt Iran = Syria, Iraq, nuclear weapons...etc. A full strategic re-alignment is taking place in the Gulf States to counter the nuclear and expansionist threat from Iran, the proxi war is well underway in Syria/Yemen/Iraq. At face value, it may not seem as a big issue, those with a lack of a strategic regional vision see no problem. As time has progressed, Pakistan has moved away from the West and more and more it is relying on China as its strategic partner; a relationship that continues to expand; by extension the same will go for the KSA, and the other Gulf states; this potentially will have a significant negative impact on the interaction/diplomacy/ sales of Western technologies and Western services etc.. to the region. Should the final agreement with Iran fail to asail the perceptions, the entire region will militarize and even destabilize well beyond imaginable expectations, and serious broader conflicts will come to pass; Syria, Yemen, Iraq, the nuclearization and expansionism of Iran are driving the negative situation, and a lack of confidence in the West to resolve the issues abounds; continuous Iranian announcements of more sophisticated weapon developments just expedites/confirms the perceived conclusions. Lots of ground issues need to be addressed by the West. Not a good situation for global stability.
In Response

by: spring12 from: usa
February 20, 2014 11:52 AM
you mentioned twice about "Iran's expansionism" not sure where you get this non sense that Iran is expanding it's territories please explain in more detail where Iran has expanded or looking to expand w/ proper documents otherwise your statements are nothing but total garbage.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continuesi
Ayesha Tanzeem
November 25, 2015 10:46 PM
One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs