Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Sunday kick-started a high-profile visit to Pakistan where he was accorded a royal welcome.
The tour will also take him to India and China.
A formation of JF-17 thunder jets and F-16 fighter jets escorted the plane of the crown prince after its entry into the Pakistani airspace. On arrival, the crown prince was given a 21-gun salute.
The twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi have been decked out in images of the Saudi royal family and banners welcoming the crown prince.
The crown prince’s trip is being treated by Islamabad as the biggest state visit since Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2015. The visit marks a deepening in ties between allies.
Kicking off his tour of South Asia and China with a far higher Pakistan investment than expected, the crown prince said the $20 billion figure represents only the start of an economic tie-up that would bring the historic Muslim allies even closer.
“It’s big for phase 1, and definitely it will grow every month and every year, and it will be beneficial to both countries,” said the crown prince.
“We have been a brotherly country, a friendly country to Pakistan. We’ve walked together in tough and good times, and we (will) continue.”
Prime Minister Imran Khan and Army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa greeted Prince Mohammed on the red carpet of a military airport in the garrison town of Rawalpindi, before the prime minister personally drove the crown prince to federal capital.
“Saudi Arabia has always been a friend in need, which is why we value it so much,” said the prime minister, while seated next to Prince Mohammed. “I want to thank you for the way you helped us when we were in bad situation.”
The crown prince referred to the historic, brotherly and deep relationship between the two countries and expressed optimism that the same would further strengthen.
Prince Mohammed said the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia desired an economically and politically strong Pakistan. He said Pakistan had a great future under its new leadership.