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Saudi Arabia–Pakistan Relations: An Age of Uncertainty or Decline?

Mahjoob Zweiri and Thomas Bonnie James


This article aims to analyse the relationship between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia from 2015 when the latter refused to cooperate on the kingdom’s war in Yemen. The relationship can be understood through the dependency theory and its paradigm of aid dependence, which explain Pakistan’s external reliance on foreign nations like Saudi Arabia and China. The relationship between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia is asymmetrical, considering long-lasting religious, economic, and security ties. Pakistan’s dependence on the Saudis for repeated economic bailout packages and loans to support its finances highlights the nature of this unbalanced relationship. Furthermore, the situation in Kashmir and Saudi Arabia’s increasingly close ties with India have worsened the Saudi relations with Pakistan. Pakistan’s neighbour, India, seeks to fill this void, as it is now Saudi Arabia’s fourth largest trading partner. This article also considers the military aspect of the relationship as Pakistan’s nuclear capabilities are among the most critical factors determining its strategic relationship with Saudi Arabia. Finally, the article considers Pakistan’s mediation role in conflicts related to Saudi Arabia.

Keywords: Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, China, financial dependency, mediation, Yemen Crisis

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pp. 496–511