Riyadh, 9 January 2023 (TDI): The Chief of Army Staff (COAS) of Pakistan, Asim Munir, is on a week-long trip to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). The trip began on January 4 and is scheduled to end on January 10.

On his first official visit to Saudi Arabia, Asim Munir met with top Saudi officials, including the Defense Minister of KSA. The information was provided by Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) in a press release.

The statement read, “COAS will be meeting the senior leadership of the brotherly country to discuss matters of mutual interest. They will explore military-to-military cooperation, and, bilateral relations focusing on security-related subjects.”

Also read: Army Chief of Pakistan on an official visit to the US

Meeting with KSA Defense Minister

Asim Munir held an official meeting with the Defense Minister of Saudi Arabia, Khalid bin Salman bin Abdulaziz. During the meeting, the officials emphasized the strength and durability of bilateral relations between the two fraternal countries.

They discussed military and defense cooperation, and ways to support and enhance them, in addition to discussing the most important regional and international issues of common interest.

Khalid bin Salman extended his congratulations to Asim Munir on his appointment as the new Chief of Staff of the Pakistani Army. The meeting was attended by a number of Saudi and Pakistani military and civilian officials.

Also read: Who will be the next Army Chief of Pakistan?

Among them are the Chief of General Staff of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Fayyad bin Hamed Al-Ruwaili & the Assistant Minister of Defense Talal bin Abdullah Al-Otaibi.

Visit amid Economic crunch

The current visit by the Army Staff came at a time when Pakistan faced a crippling economic crisis. The country’s foreign reserves have depleted to less than $6 billion, which can just cover a month of import.

Inflation is skyrocketing as the country is still dealing with the fallout from last year’s catastrophic floods, which cost more than $30 billion. Islamabad required Saudi funds to shore up its foreign reserves and provide a safety valve during default.

In this vein, Pakistani Finance Minister Ishaq Dar held a news conference. He expressed hope that Saudi Arabia will park its deposits in the central bank to help the economy.

It is pertinent to note that Munir Asim himself has served time in Saudi Arabia as part of the Pakistani army’s close defense cooperation with the Kingdom.