A cargo, reportedly containing India's indigenous Pinaka multi-barrel rocket launchers, has reached Armenia via Iran, irking its arch-rival, Azerbaijan.
The news emerged when videos were published by Azerbaijan-based news portal Caliber.az, showing a camouflaged convoy crossing Iran's Nurduz border checkpoint into Armenia.
The portal claimed that the convoy likely carried military cargo delivered to the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas from the eastern coast of the Caspian Sea.
Independent sources cited in the report identified India as the source of the cargo, highlighting the increased military-technical cooperation between India and Armenia in recent years.
Armenia and Azerbaijan, are engaged in a conflict over control of the Nagorno-Karabakh region. The conflict resulted in a 45-day war in September 2020, which was brought to an end by a peace deal brokered by Russia.
However, cease-fire violations have persisted, leading to occasional border clashes.
Reports of Indian weapons entering Armenia prompted Hikmet Hajiyev, foreign policy adviser to the President of Azerbaijan, to call on the Indian Ambassador to the country, Sridharan Madhusudhanan.
Azerbaijan expressed concerns about the expanding military cooperation between Armenia and India and requested a reconsideration of India's decision to supply lethal weapons to Armenia.
Amidst the tensions and regional dynamics, Armenia has sought to bolster its defences by acquiring various military systems from India.
Late last year, Armenia ordered a mounted 155 mm 39-caliber artillery system from Bharat Forge, a private defence firm, part of the Kalyani Group.
Additionally, a government-to-government contract was signed between Yerevan and New Delhi for the procurement of indigenous Pinaka multi-barrel rocket launchers, anti-tank missiles, and ammunition.
Further discussions between Armenian Defense Minister Suren Papikyan and Indian counterpart Rajnath Singh sought to expand defense cooperation, with Armenia expressing interest in acquiring drones, counter-drone measures, loitering munitions, and mid-range surface-to-air missile systems like the Akash developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation.
Experts have observed an "indirect linkage" between the Armenia-Azerbaijan and India-Pakistan relationships in recent years.
In 2017, Turkey, Azerbaijan, and Pakistan issued a joint statement to establish security cooperation, leading to further bilateral military aid arrangements.
Azerbaijan's deployment of Turkish drones during the 45-day war with Armenia and potential talks with Pakistan to purchase the JF-17 fighter aircraft have contributed to the complexity of regional dynamics.
Editorial Associate at Swarajya. Writes on Indian Military and Defence.
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