Riyadh [Saudi Arabia], June 26 (ANI): Saudi crown prince Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS) on Sunday conferred the Order of King Abdulaziz on Pakistan's Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa.
A statement issued by Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) stated that MBS conferred the medal upon Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Bajwa in recognition of his significant contributions to defence cooperation between the two countries, reported Geo News.
The army chief is currently on a visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), where he called on Crown Prince MBS, 1st Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister of KSA and General Fayyadh Bin Hamed Al-Ruwaili, Chief of General Staff (CGS) Saudi Armed Forces at Jeddah.
Two sides discussed matters of mutual interests and bilateral defence.
"During the meetings, matters of mutual interests, bilateral defence and security cooperation and regional peace and stability were discussed. COAS General Bajwa said that Pakistan values its historical and brotherly relations with the Kingdom and acknowledges its unique place in the Islamic world," the military's media wing stated.
It further stated that Pakistan and Saudi Arabia agreed upon enhancing defence cooperation in the fields of joint training, air defence, counter-terrorism and communication and information domain.
Meanwhile, Saudi state media shared pictures from the meeting where COAS General Bajwa was awarded, reported Geo News.
As per Saudi Press Agency, the meeting was attended by Saudi Deputy Minister of Defence Prince Khalid bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Chief of General Staff Lieutenant-General Fayyad Al-Ruwaili and a number of senior officials both from Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.
Meanwhile, the tension between Saudi Arabia and Pakistan has been brewing for some time. Pakistan lobbied with the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) for criticising the Indian move of revoking Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir but statements by Saudi Arabia and the UAE were not harshly critical of India.
Pakistan tried to rouse the sentiments among the Islamic countries, but only Turkey and Malaysia have publicly criticised India.
Pakistan also accused Saudi of failing to deliver on the Kashmir cause and OIC for not playing a leadership role in backing Pakistan against India.
Saudi Arabia angered by Pakistan's accusations demanded the return of the USD 3 billion loan and refused to sell oil on deferred payment. Pakistan immediately returned USD 1 billion, displaying the rift.
Saudi Arabia's change in position has been a gradual process under Crown Prince MBS as it seeks to diversify from its heavily oil-dependent economy and it sees India as a valuable partner in the region.
New Delhi, for its part, has wooed the Arab world over the last six years. From Saudi Arabia to the UAE, it worked the diplomatic levers through high-level visits and dangled opportunities for investment and business. (ANI)