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

    S. African Farmer Goes From 'Voice in the Wilderness' to Sought-After Expert

    Margarest Roberts has authored more than 40 books on subjects like organic farming, urban agriculture, herbs and ‘superfoods'

    Millennial Men Prefer Bucks Over Beauty

    U.S. men aged 18 to 34 say the finances of a potential significant other are more important than her looks

    Multimedia Lebanese Clown Troupe Marks Valentine's Day Amid Stink

    Activists resort to unusual approaches to raise public awareness of country’s ongoing trash crisis

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: hammad from: pakistan
    February 26, 2014 10:38 AM
    Pakistan is a democratic country.it 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.

    by: CAPCORNLEO from: NETHERLAND
    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.
    Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growthi
    X
    February 10, 2016 5:54 AM
    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Civil Rights Pioneer Remembers Struggle for Voting Rights

    February is Black History Month in the United States. The annual, month-long national observance pays tribute to important people and events that shaped the history of African Americans. VOA's Chris Simkins reports how one man fought against discrimination to help millions of blacks obtain the right to vote
    Video

    Video Jordanian Theater Group Stages Anti-Terrorism Message

    The lure of the self-styled “Islamic State” has many parents worried about their children who may be susceptible to the organization’s online propaganda. Dozens of Muslim communities in the Middle East are fighting back -- giving young adults alternatives to violence. One group in Jordan is using dramatic expression a send a family message. Mideast Broadcasting Network correspondent Haider Al Abdali shared this report with VOA. It’s narrated by Bronwyn Benito
    Video

    Video Migrant Crisis Fuels Debate Over Britain’s Future in EU

    The migrant crisis in Europe is fueling the debate in Britain ahead of a referendum on staying in the European Union that may be held this year. Prime Minister David Cameron warns that leaving the EU could lead to thousands more migrants arriving in the country. Meanwhile, tension is rising in Calais, France, where thousands of migrants are living in squalid camps. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Families Flee Aleppo for Kurdish Regions in Syria

    Not all who flee the fighting in Aleppo are trying to cross the border into Turkey. A VOA reporter caught up with several families heading for Kurdish-held areas of northern Syria.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.