Crown Prince's investment deals in Pakistan could complicate Saudi-India ties

Prince Salman said Saudi "cannot say no to Pakistan, whatever you (Pakistan) want we will do".

Analysts say the crown prince's trip is being treated by Islamabad as the biggest state visit since Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2015, soon after Beijing announced plans to invest tens of billions of dollars on infrastructure in Pakistan as part of China's global Belt and Road initiative.

Sanjranj said Saudi investment in Pakistan shows the trust of the worldwide community in the country which would pave the way for opening new avenues of cooperation and economic partnership for regional development.

"On the flip side, there is reassurance that Saudi Arabia will not only continue to serve as a strategic friend who will help shore up Pakistan's finances when needed, but it's also going to become a participant in the wider investment in Pakistan".

Pakistan PM Imran Khan, breaking the protocol, drove a Mercedes Benz carrying Saudi Crown Prince to the PM's house.

The crown prince, widely known as "MBS", got a warm welcome in Pakistan, including a 21-gun salute and an honour guard on Saturday.

The security arrangements have been extraordinary, with thousands of armed forces scheduled to guard various venues and Saudi security teams working with their Pakistani counterparts for weeks. Reuters cited Saudi-owned Arabiya TV on Sunday as saying agreements worth $20 billion (€17.7 billion) had been signed.

"The founding fathers for both countries established these relations on the principles of truthfulness, common understanding and mutual respect that go back to the first days of the establishment of Pakistan, post-World War II", he said.

This was followed by the inaugural session of the Saudi-Pakistan Supreme Coordination Council (SCC), co-chaired by the prime minister and the Crown Prince. -AFP Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa with MBS.

On Sunday, Pakistan Air Force jets escorted crown prince Mohammed's flight when he entered the country's airspace.

And the Crown Prince has finally spoken out to address the rumours.

However, speculations were that Saudi Crown Prince Salman's visit would be cancelled in the wake of the soaring tension between India and Pakistan after the brutal Pulwama attack.

- Photo courtesy PTI Official Twitter Prime Minister Imran Khan greets Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman upon his arrival at Nur Khan Air Base.

The move is at odds with other countries who have condemned the Kingdom over its role in the murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi past year.

The club did not comment on the reports about takeover interest from Saudi Arabia ahead of the minister's denial.

Asian countries, he added, "have an important special characteristic - that is, we don't interfere in the internal affairs of other countries". The Crown Prince and Khan introduced members of their respective delegations, following which the crown prince planted a sapling.

  • Jon Douglas