Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman recently wrapped up a week of high-profile visits to Asia, touring Pakistan, India and China in a bid to court new allies. The Saudis clearly mean to signal to the United States and the West that they have options, as the kingdom endures a tarnished reputation over the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. But anticipation of a full-blown Saudi pivot to Asia — and a turning away from the United States — is misguided. Cooperation between the kingdom and Asia is growing, but at best, relations with Asian countries can only complement US ties.
Varsha Koduvayur is a senior research analyst at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, where she focuses on the Gulf. The opinions expressed in this commentary are her own.