The Pakistan Army on Thursday said it is sending troops to its ally Saudi Arabia on a training and advise mission under an existing bilateral security pact. The announcement was made after a meeting between Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador Nawaf Saeed Al-Maliki, Pakistan Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa (pictured above) on Thursday at Rawalpindi.

“In continuation of ongoing Pakistan-Saudi bilateral security cooperation, a Pakistan Army contingent is being sent to Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on training and advise mission,” Pakistan Army’s Inter-Services Public Relations said in a statement. “These or troops already there will not be employed outside the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”

The Army said it continues to maintain bilateral security cooperation with other Gulf Cooperation Council countries. The Pakistani Army has already deployed 1,000 troops in Saudi Arabia, Dawn reported.

The development comes three years after Saudi asked Pakistan to provide troops in 2015 since the start of Yemen conflict. However, Pakistan had refused to deploy soldiers. Pakistan’s Parliament had then voted to remain neutral to avoid being pulled into the regional power struggle.

Nearly 800 Pakistani servicemen are stationed in Saudi Arabia to guard Islamic holy sites, but they are not combat troops, Reuters reported.