TODAY.AZ / Politics

Despite peace initiative, India tries to spoil process in South Caucasus

23 December 2023 [09:56] - TODAY.AZ
By Azernews

Qabil Ashirov

Despite ongoing numerous peace-confidence-building measures and meetings initiated by the government of Azerbaijan under the leadership of President Ilham Aliyev, the further strengthening of Armenia and India's military cooperation is going to spoil the desired goals of regional peace, stability, and harmony in the South Caucasus.

According to the Economic Times, India is finalising its supply of an indigenous anti-air system, multi-barrel rocket launchers, artillery guns, various types of ammunition, and drones to Armenia.

In addition to this, the deliveries of the Akash anti-air systems, produced by Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL), are expected to commence shortly as part of a deal estimated to be worth Rs.6,000 crore. Even in November last year, Kalyani Strategic Systems had also announced a US$155 million deal with Armenia.

In a comment to Azernews on the issue, Dr. Mehmood Ul Hassan Khan noted that it seems to be part of India's larger geopolitical strategy, which has raised concerns among nations like Türkiye, Azerbaijan, and Pakistan. He said that strategically, three strategic partners perceive India's growing defense and strategic partnerships with Armenia as a challenge to their peaceful interests in the Middle East and Central Asia.

"The strengthening of military ties between Armenia and India is seen as a direct response to the informal alliance of Türkiye, Azerbaijan, and Pakistan. India's relationship with Armenia has been growing since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1992, culminating in a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership Agreement in 2019. Comparative studies reveal that India's strategic and subtle approach to building these relationships is seen as a long-term strategy to counterbalance the influence of three strategic partners and China's expanding presence in the South Caucasus, Central Asia, and of course Mediterranean region. On its part, Azerbaijan has been constantly pursuing peaceful diplomatic means to defuse tensions in the region by negotiating a peace deal with Armenia," Mehmood Ul Hassan Khan said.

The Pundit pointed out that it is crystal clear that Azerbaijan does not have any military goals or objectives on the sovereign territory of the Republic of Armenia. Azerbaijan, Pakistan, and Türkiye, strengthening military cooperation is now gaining momentum. He noted that the KAAN stealth aircraft's inaugural flight is a groundbreaking achievement, representing a futuristic aircraft resulting from tripartite efforts. This collaboration is set to revolutionize the aerospace industry while forging stronger strategic ties among the three nations.

"Even Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Syed Asim Munir, NI (M) COAS visited the Republic of Azerbaijan and met with the civil and military leadership. The visit was aimed at enhancing military-to-military cooperation and defense collaboration between the two brotherly countries. While meeting with COAS General Munir, President Ilham appreciated the fruitful defense industry cooperation between the two countries and underscored the significance of conducting joint military training. Moreover, both countries reaffirmed their commitment to each other’s sovereignty and territorial integrity on the global stage. Military sources confirm that Azerbaijan remains the largest buyer of defense hardware from Pakistan, such as armored vehicles, small arms, and other military hardware. Additionally, both countries expressed interest in working together on counterterrorism initiatives, such as intelligence sharing and joint operations. Thus prospects are very high for the further strengthening of military cooperation/joint military manufacturing, training, defense education, combined military drills, and anti-terrorism cooperation between the two countries," Mehmood Ul Hassan Khan said.

He underscorred that in September 2021, the Armed Forces of Azerbaijan, Türkiye, and Pakistan jointly conducted their first-ever joint drills, known as “Three Brothers-2021,” in Baku. On its part, Pakistan has been assisting Azerbaijan in terms of military and air force training in Pakistan. Both countries have been in serious negotiations for the sale of JF-17 Thunder-III with Azerbaijan which is now at an advanced stage.

"In the past, former Pakistan Chiefs of Air Forces, Naval, and General Nadeem Raz paid personal visits to Baku and extended their support for the mutually befitting propositions of resettlement, redevelopment, reinvestments, and reconstruction of all the newly liberated areas of the Garabagh Region. Furthermore, the visit of the Azerbaijan Naval Commander to Pakistan and meeting with Naval and armed Forces chiefs showed the highest levels of mutual interest pertaining to regional peace and stability which has now further strengthened the scope, domain, and prospects of air force and naval cooperation between two the two countries. Even the Director General of FWO paid a visit to Baku and explored various avenues of cooperation in infrastructural projects, cleaning of deadly landmines, and prospective cooperation in gold mining," the Pundit said.

Mehmood Ul Hassan Khan told that it is a good omen that Turkish Defense Minister Yasar Guler and Metin Gürak, the Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Türkiye paid personal visits to Azerbaijan and discussed further strengthening military cooperation between the two countries. Strengthening their military bonds, the Air Force units of Azerbaijan and Türkiye have also recently concluded joint training exercises involving drones, notably unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) supplied by Turkish aerospace company Baykar.

"Interestingly, in 2023 alone, Türkiye and Azerbaijan have conducted a total of 14 military exercises, signifying a strong commitment to their joint defense initiatives. This robust bilateral training regimen reflects their shared vision for a secure and stable region, and the role of advanced technology, such as UAVs, in achieving it. In the case of Pakistan, three different Turkish UAV models are currently in operation in Pakistan. Representatives of the Pakistan’s NESCOM and TAI signed a contract in August 2021 for the production of Turkish Anka unmanned aerial vehicles within Pakistan. With Pakistan’s 2021 purchase of Bayraktar TB2 drones, the new missile is intended for usage. The Pakistan Air Force is also equipped with the Akinci and Anka UAVs Bayraktar AKINCI, Bayraktar TB2, and Bayraktar TB3 UAVs, which are all capable of launching. The Kemanke cruise missile has artificial intelligence built into it, allowing it to find targets and choose them on its own even in bad weather," Dr. Mehmood Ul Hassan Khan concluded.


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