Saudi Arabia Current Affairs - 2019
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Pakistan Army has announced to deploy troops in its close ally Saudi Arabia under existing bilateral security cooperation agreement. The decision comes after meeting between Pakistan Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa and Saudi ambassador to Pakistan Nawaf Saeed Al-Maliki at the army headquarters in Rawalpindi.
The troops have been deployed for training and advise mission. They will not be employed outside Saudi Arabia. The move comes three years after Pakistan decided against sending soldiers to join the Saudi-led military intervention in strife-torn Yemen. Already around 1,000 Pakistani troops have been deployed in Saudi Arabia, a close ally of Pakistan in various advisory and training roles. Pakistan is treading fine line in maintaining relations with Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey, Qatar and other regional players. The decision of deploying troops may annoy Saudi Arabia’s regional rivals like Iran and Qatar.
Pakistan army maintains bilateral security cooperation with many other Gulf/regional countries. Saudi Arabia has been pushing its fellow Sunni-majority ally Pakistan to provide troops since 2015 when it joined Yemen’s civil war but Pakistan steadily refused, saying it would not become party to any regional conflict. Pakistan also had joined Islamic Military Alliance (IMA) set up by Saudi Arabia and is led by former Pakistan Army chief Gen. Raheel Sharif which is still in an early stage to play any role in the conflict.
King Salman bin Abdulaziz in presence of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj inaugurated 32nd edition of Saudi Arabia’s National Heritage Festival in Janadriyah village, Riyadh. This year India is guest of honor country.
Jenadriyah is cultural and heritage festival of Saudi Arabia. It is held annually at Jenadriyah village near Riyadh. It is organised every year by National Guard. It was held for first time in 1985. It draws more than one million visitors every year.
The festival normally falls during the month of February or March. The activities in festivals include camel race, horse race, sports, dance, arts, history, falconry, and traditional arts and crafts.
The India Pavilion at festival was based on the theme ‘Saudi ka dost Bharat’. It showcased traditional and modern aspects of India and its culture. Previous guests of honor countries were Turkey, Russia, France, Japan, South Korea, China, UAE and Germany.
Saudi Arabia is India’s fourth largest trade partner after China, US and UAE. It is major source of India’s energy security requirement as it accounts for almost one-fifth of India’s crude oil requirement. The volume of bilateral trade between both countries during 2016-17 was recorded at $25.079 billion. Saudi Arabia is home to more than 3 million Indian people.