ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif left for Saudi Arabia on a three-day official visit Wednesday to hold ‘important talks with the Saudi leadership,’ reported Radio Pakistan.

Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif and Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Tariq Fatemi are also accompanying the premier, who is visiting the kingdom on the invitation of King Salman to witness the military exercise 'Thunder of the North'.

A large number of heads of state have been invited to witness the ongoing military exercise and its closing ceremony.

Troops from 21 countries, including Pakistan, are participating in the exercise, in the northern region of Saudi Arabia.

The main goal of the exercise is to improve training in responding to threats posed by terrorist groups.

The PM and the army chief are visiting Saudi Arabia from Wednesday (March 9), separate statements by the Foreign Office and ISPR had earlier said. It was, however, not clear if the two will travel together, but their itineraries do not match.

The PM will be in Saudi Arabia for three days, while Army Chief Gen Sharif, according to military spokesman Lt Gen Asim Bajwa’s tweet, will be there for two days.