Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif Thursday attended closing ceremony of joint military exercise “North Thunder” in Saudi Arabia’s Hafarul Batin city
RIYADH (Saudi Arabia) – Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif and leaders of other countries attended the ceremony along Khadim al Harmain Al Sharifain King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz al Saud.
Troops from 21 countries, including Pakistan, are participating in the exercise, in the northern region of Saudi Arabia. The main aim of the exercise is to improve training to respond to threats posed by terrorist groups.
On the occasion, military contingents of different participating nations demonstrated armour movement, air assault through helicopters, live fire by tanks and air drop activities. Pakistani troops also performed air drops and air assault during the closing ceremony. Live fire by tanks was also demonstrated.
The exercise was termed as “the largest military gathering of 20 Arab and Islamic states” by the Chief of General Staff and Commander of the Exercise General Abdulrahman bin Saleh Al-Bunyan said.
At least 20 countries from Arab and Islamic countries participated in the North Thunder war games in the northern region of the kingdom. The participating countries are Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Jordan, Senegal, Sudan, Maldives, Morocco, Pakistan, Chad, Tunisia, Comoro Islands, Djibouti, Malaysia, Egypt, Mauritania, and Mauritius.
During the visit, Pakistani leadership will offer to expand its cooperation with Saudis apart from its support for the 34-nation coalition of Islamic countries cobbled together by Saudi Arabia to fight terrorism.
On Wednesday night, both the army chief and the prime minister attended a dinner hosted by King Salman bin Abdul Aziz. Both leaders are visiting the Kingdom on invitation of the Custodian of the two Holy Mosques.
This is consecutively the second joint trip of Nawaz Sharif and Raheel Sharif to Saudi Arabia. Previously, the two flew to Riyadh and Tehran in a bid to normalise disturbed ties between Saudi Arabia and Iran.