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Saudi troops arrive in Pakistan for al-Samsam 6 exercise

Soldiers of the Saudi Royal Land Forces have arrived in Pakistan to participate in a joint military exercise – i.e. “al-Samsam 6” – from early next week, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reports. Al-Samsam 5 was held in 2015 in Saudi Arabia.

The SPA also reports that the Pakistan Army and Saudi Royal Land Forces had also completed the “Kaseh 1” exercise on Thursday, October 12 in Saudi Arabia’s North-West Region.

As per the SPA, Kaseh 1 “was carried out to enhance the efficiency of engineers in irregular war on both sides and to unify the concepts and fighting operations that come within framework of the friendly relations and military cooperation between the Saudi forces and the Pakistani army.”

Al-Samsam and Kaseh accompany a series of ongoing bilateral military exercises between the Saudi forces and its various defence partners. Earlier in October, Saudi and French Special Operations Forces units had kicked-off the al-Rieck 2 exercise at the King Salman Mountain Warfare Centre.

Pakistan has also been engaged in exercises. In September, the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) had sent 19 of its aircraft to Korla Air Base in China to participate in Shaheen VI, an annually-held bilateral air exercise. This month, the PAF will also host its largest multi-national air exercise to-date involving 19 air forces.

Exercises provide participating forces the opportunity to benchmark their respective operational practices and procedures as well as learn from one another’s experiences. Pakistan had participated in a number of exercises in the past 24 months, among them Red Flag and Anatolian Eagle, among others.

In recent years, Pakistan has emphasized its efforts and successes in counterinsurgency and counter-terrorism operations, which it is eager to demonstrate and impart to its defence partners through exercises and training institutes, such as the National Counter-Terrorism Centre (NCTC),  Airpower Centre of Excellence (ACE) and the forthcoming Maritime Counter Terrorism Centre (MCTC).

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