Indian Army General Naravane’s Saudi visit highlights Pak’s break with Arab world, India News News
Pakistan is slowly moving away from the good books of Arab nations, especially Saudi Arabia, the de facto leader of the Islamic world. This can be proven by the dissection of two high-profile and very similar visits which is proof of the split between Saudi Arabia and Pakistan and also reaffirms how much Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are increasingly leaning more to India.
In August, the head of the Pakistani army, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, visited Riyadh. The visit followed weeks of posturing from Islamabad to Kashmir. Bajwa went there with the expectation that the Sheikh would take a firmer line against India’s Kashmir policy. In fact, the Saudi crown prince was to give the head of the pak army an audience, a loan grant and a medal. However, all he received was a royal snub as the Saudis changed their mind and he was unable to meet Mohammed Bin Salman. It also meant that there was no loan concession and obviously no medal.
General Bajwa, to his dismay, had to make do with the usual meetings with Saudi officials and returned to Islamabad empty-handed.
Today, four months later, the Chief of the Indian Army, General Manoj Mukund Naravane, embarked on a six-day tour of West Asia, making it his third overseas tour. this year and the first visit of an Indian army chief to this part of the world. The purpose of the visit was to create a military alliance with the two Gulf powers.
General Naravane received a guard of honor at the United Arab Emirates Land Forces Headquarters on Friday. During his trip, he also met with the Commander of the Land Forces, Major General Saleh Mohammed Saleh Al Ameri and discussed defense cooperation between India and the United Arab Emirates. The head of the army also visited the Institute of Land Forces and its infantry and armor schools.
On Sunday, he arrived in Saudi Arabia and visited the Ministry of Defense in Riyadh where he received a guard of honor from the Royal Saudi Ground Forces and met with senior Saudi generals such as the Chief of Staff of the ‘Saudi Arabia, Gen. Fayyad Bin Hamid Ruwaili and the Commander of Joint Forces of Saudi Arabia, Gen. Mutlaq Bin Salim Bin Al-Azima. Discussions largely revolved around stepping up defense cooperation in strategic areas.
The stark contrast between these two visits to India and Pakistan is clearly visible where the Pakistani general receives a royal snub and a red carpet is rolled out for the Indian general. This contrast proves that New Delhi has not only succeeded in dissociating Islamabad from the Arab world, but is on its way to becoming a major security partner of the Gulf powers.
Information on General Naravane’s visit to the Gulf has highlighted a potential sale of the Brahmos missile. Abu Dhabi and Riyadh have both reportedly expressed interest in purchasing the Indo-Russian missile system. A number of other proposals are also on the table such as joint military exercises.
In recent years, the Indian Navy has organized exercises with the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. In March 2018, India and the United Arab Emirates conducted their first “Gulf Star 1” naval exercise and in 2019 India and Saudi Arabia announced their first joint naval exercises, which were delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic. General Naravane’s visit could lead to a reprogramming of these exercises.
Reports also indicate that Indian contingents may soon be sent to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates for the protection of the House of Saud. Over the years, thousands of Pakistani soldiers have been sent to the royal kingdom. Elite Pakistani commandos have been tasked with guarding the royal family in Riyadh, but Islamabad has refused to allow Pakistani troops to join Saudi and Emirati troops in Yemen.
Reports say the Gulf powers now want India on board in Yemen. Indian contingents could be sent to join troops in Yemen as Islamabad is forced to repay its loans.
Pakistani company Geo News on Monday released a report titled “China bail out Pakistan to re-enlist $ 1 billion in Saudi debt.” Pakistan was forced to pay off another installment of a $ 3 billion loan it had borrowed from the Sheikh, and just like last time, China again came to Pakistan’s rescue.