India and Armenia strengthen defence ties amidst regional instability

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India and Armenia strengthen defence ties amidst regional instability

Friday, 10 May 2024 | Padmalochan Dash

As the Turkey-Azerbaijan-Pakistan axis looms, the growing Indo-Armenia partnership emerges as a vital defence against destabilising forces

In recent years, the strategic partnership between India and Armenia has undergone a remarkable transformation- fired by their shared commitment to fortify defence capabilities and confront regional security challenges head-on. Against the backdrop of Armenia’s enduring struggle with Azerbaijan and Turkey’s support for Azerbaijan’s advantages, the precipitating connection between Armenia and India stands for recognition. Armenia’s proximity to India and both agreeing to diversify their strategic alignment, deserves special attention on the global stage.

Military Cooperation: Armenia’s imperative to diversify its security alliances and bolster its military capabilities, particularly amidst the enduring conflict with Azerbaijan, is evident through heightened defense spending and collaborations with nations such as India and France. India’s involvement with Armenia’s military not only strengthens its defensive capabilities but also serves to counterbalance external-internal influences like Turkey and Pakistan in the South Asian region. The expanding Indo-Armenian partnership encompasses various facets, including the exchange of weaponry, joint military exercises, and strategic consultations, all aimed at enhancing defense readiness and security in their respective regions.

Advanced Weaponry and Joint Exercises: The acquisition of state-of-the-art weaponry highlights the growing defense cooperation between India and Armenia. Reports indicate ongoing provision of military hardware from India to Armenia, including multiple-launch rocket systems, anti-tank missiles, and radar systems. Additionally, joint military exercises and training programs are underway to enhance preparedness and interoperability between their armed forces. These collaborative efforts facilitate the exchange of expertise and tactics, fostering effective coordination for potential future operations, from joint exercises to intelligence sharing, both nations are committed to showcasing their military capabilities and strengthening their strategic partnership.

Geopolitical Determinations: Armenia’s pivotal role in the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) offers India diversified trade routes and enhanced access to Eurasian markets, bolstering strategic interests in economic resilience and geopolitical balancing. Conversely, India’s military support for Armenia underscores its commitment to preserving regional peace and countering aggressive manoeuvres by the Turkey-Azerbaijan-Pakistan axis. Through the realisation of mutual interests, India and Armenia can reshape security dynamics in the South Caucasus region by challenging the dominance of larger geopolitical actors and their support for rogue powers.

Turkey-Azerbaijan-Pakistan Axis: The Turkey-Azerbaijan-Pakistan axis poses a substantial threat to respective regional stability, with Turkey’s unwavering support for Azerbaijan during the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict then raising concerns about potential escalations. The longstanding military partnership between Turkey and Pakistan, characterised by defence production, joint training exercises, and high-level military dialogues, underscores their concerted efforts to advance mutual geopolitical goals and exert influence in the regions. This axis represents a significant challenge to the security and stability of the South Caucasus and South Asian regions, as that axis seeks to consolidate its power and undermine the influence of other regional stakeholders.

Responses and Ongoing Efforts: In response to the burgeoning influence of the Turkey-Azerbaijan-Pakistan axis, India’s steadfast support for Armenia signifies a resolute stance against their aggressive manoeuvres in the region. Aimed at preserving a delicate balance of power, India and Armenia are all set to intensify their collaboration to address these threats.

While Turkey’s stance on Kashmir validates the burgeoning Indo-Armenia defence cooperation, the nexus between Turkey’s involvement in the Kashmir issue and Pakistan’s alignment with Azerbaijan’s agenda cannot be seen as a mere happenstance, rather a meticulously orchestrated strategy with far-reaching intention. In this backdrop, the urgent need for a meticulously planned multilateral defence partnership underscored. This becomes essential to counter the unholy Turkey-Pakistan-Azerbaijan axis- thereby ensuring stability in both the Caucasus and South Asian regions.

The Promising Prospects: The emerging strategic cooperation between India and Armenia holds immense promise for enhancing regional security and advancing shared interests. Both nations are poised to deepen their partnership and address prevailing challenges through concerted efforts in military collaboration and strategic alignments. India’s steadfast support for Armenia underscores its dedication to maintaining peace and stability in the Caucasus region. With far-reaching implications for global geopolitical outcomes, the Indo-Armenia partnership has the potential to redefine the regional balance of power and contribute significantly to the stability and prosperity of both the Caucasus and South Asian regions.

(The writer is working with an Independent Think Tank, views are personal)

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