Islamabad: Pakistan today said the decision to send its troops to Saudi Arabia was taken after clarifying the “rules of engagement” for which negotiations were ongoing for some time.
Pak Defence Minister Khurram Dastigir Khan said the role of Pakistani troops was limited to advisory and training to Saudi forces.
“Negotiations were ongoing regarding the rules of engagement and once we attained clarity on the issue that the troops will be on training and advisory mission to strengthen the ground defence of Saudi Arabia, the troops were sent,” he told Geo News last night.
He ruled out any involvement in the Yemen civil war but said that Pakistan will not provide any air defence against missiles by Houthi rebels.
“We only want to train their forces and better advise them. The areas bordering Yemen are mountainous, and as Pakistan’s army is highly trained in mountain warfare, we will train and advise them,” he said.
In a major policy shift, Pakistan decided to deploy troops in Saudi Arabia under an existing bilateral security cooperation agreement with its close ally which is involved in a civil war in neighbouring Yemen.
The Pakistan Army announced the decision to send troops on a training and advise mission to Saudi Arabia after a meeting between Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa and Saudi ambassador to Pakistan Nawaf Saeed Al-Maliki at the army headquarters in Rawalpindi on Thursday. PTI