Saudi Arabia holds joint military drill to show the region’s readiness to support Arab unity and deter threats
Saudi Arabia concluded a month-long military exercise involving 24 countries on Monday, a day after hosting an Arab summit.
The joint military exercise integrated live fire, coastal defense and combat search-and-rescue drills, as well as naval warfare exercises and extensive flying operations.
The month-long exercise military exercise “Gulf Shield-1″ was joined by troops from over 20 countries and was aimed at strengthening “military and security cooperation and coordination” among the regional countries.
The countries participating with troops include those from; Pakistan, Sudan, Djibouti, Egypt, UAE, Chad, Guinea, Bahrain, Malaysia, Mauritania, Jordan, Gambia and Kuwait. The countries participating as observers are; Bangladesh, Turkey, Qatar, Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, USA, UK, Cameron islands, Oman and Niger.
Frigates from KSA, Bahrain, Kuwait, Turkey, UAE and USA took part in the Exercise and Pakistan Navy represented with embarked helos, Long Range Maritime Patrol Aircraft, special forces and marines personnel.
The exercises, held along the East Coast of Saudi Arabia, included a simulated counteroffensive using fighter jets, attack helicopters and various military equipment. The drill involved fighter jets, landing ships and featured a naval attack scenario.
“The event is… meant to demonstrate our ability to take joint military action, the region’s readiness to support Arab unity and its capacity to deter any threats,” military spokesman Abdullah Subaei was quoted as saying in a Saudi information ministry statement.
“This exercise demonstrates that we have the cooperation of friendly nations, our experience and expertise to deal with those threats.”
Pakistan’s General Raheel Sharif, the head of Islamic Military Counter-Terrorism Coalition (IMCTC), a coalition of 41 countries, also witnessed the event.
Last year, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman presided over the first meeting of an Islamic counter-terrorism alliance involving around 40 Muslim countries, as he vowed to “pursue terrorists”.