Invitation for ‘Gulf Shield’ military exercise reflects strong BD-SA ties: FM

Invitation for ‘Gulf Shield’ military exercise reflects strong BD-SA ties: FM

SAM Staff,

Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali, file photo

Bangladesh’s Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali says that Saudi King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz’s invitation to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to attend the closing ceremony of the multi-country military exercise ‘Gulf Shield’ reflects the strong bilateral relations with the kingdom.

Hasina will leave for Dammam on Apr 15 aboard a Bangladesh Biman flight to attend the ceremony of the exercise on Apr 16, Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali said, briefing reporters on Thursday (Apr 12).

From there, the prime minister will leave for London to attend the Commonwealth Summit with its theme of “Towards a Common Future”.

Bangladesh is one of the 23 participating countries in the Saudi-led exercise, which is considered the largest in the region in terms of the number of participating countries and the equipment used.

The US, UK, UAE, Qatar, Pakistan, Bahrain, Kuwait and Turkey are among the other participants of the month-long exercise that began on Mar 18.

Bangladesh had previously joined the Saudi-led military alliance against terrorism.

Saudi Arabia is the single largest source of remittances for Bangladesh.

The foreign minister said the relationship with Saudi Arabia had been ‘strengthened’ in recent years due to the ‘visionary leadership’ of the prime minister.

It has now become ‘multidimensional’, he said, citing areas of religious, political, economic and cultural collaboration.

The prime minister visited the kingdom in June 2016, and later in May 2017. She also attended the Arab-Islamic-American Summit.

Mahmood Ali said those visits gave a “new dimension” to the bilateral relation, which is now reflected through the invitation to attend the concluding session of the military exercise.

Earlier, on Apr 5, Saudi Ambassador to Bangladesh Abdullah HM Al-Mutairi paid a courtesy call on the prime minister at her official Ganabhaban residence and presented her with the invitation letter.

The prime minister will return home from London on Apr 23.