A shipment of India-manufactured military supplies reportedly reached Armenia after being transported by road through Iran, according to exclusive footage obtained by the Baku-based Caliber.Az news service.
In the footage, a convoy carrying camouflaged cargo is seen moving towards Armenia through a border checkpoint in Iran.
The cargo contained military supplies delivered by India, Caliber.Az reported, citing sources. Iran acted as transit country, initially receiving the cargo at the Persian Gulf port of Bandar Abbas and then transferring it to Armenia.
Azerbaijan Presidential Assistant Hikmet Hajiyev conveyed Baku’s concerns to the Indian Ambassador to the country, Sridharan Madhusudhanan, on Wednesday.
India’s armament of Armenia exacerbates the situation at a time when Baku and Yerevan are in talks of a peace treaty. It also hinders the attempts to bring peace and stability to South Caucasus, Hajiyev told Madhusudhanan.
He urged the ambassador to inform the Indian government about Azerbaijan’s grave concerns and call for the revision of its decision for Armenia’s militarization.
The Indian arms shipment to Armenia followed intensive meetings between the military officials of the two countries since last year.
In October 2022, Armenia’s Defense Minister Suren Papikyan was on a three-day working visit to India. Back then he met his Indian counterpart, Rajnath Singh, also visited the DEFEXPO exhibition, and attended the conference of defense ministers in the format "Indian Ocean Region and Partners."
According to multiple reports, Yerevan and New Delhi signed contracts for the purchase of $245 million worth of Indian multiple-launch rocket systems, anti-tank rockets and ammunition, including India-made Pinaka multi-barrel rocket launcher and Akash surface-to-air missile systems during Papikyan’s trip.
Moreover, in February of this year, a delegation from the Armenian Defence Ministry led by Deputy Minister Karen Brutyan visited India where he met with the country’s Defence Minister Singh. The meeting’s agenda featured issues concerning prospects for expanding Armenian-Indian military cooperation, including joint efforts in broader military-technical reciprocity.
Between March 2 and 4, a delegation led by Chief of the General Staff of the Armenian Armed Forces Eduard Asryan was in India. It was received by the Chief of Defence Staff of India, General Anil Chauhan, to negotiate defense cooperation against the backdrop of the existing situation in the South Caucasus.
As part of the intensive exchange of mutual trips, Armenia’s Defense Minister Papikyan received on July 24 the Indian Ambassador to Yerevan, Nilakshi Saha Sinha, to again put the bilateral defence cooperation under the spotlight.
In March 2023, Papikyan said the country’s armed forces received significant amounts of new weapons and ammunition in 2022, including mortars, air defense and anti-tank rocket systems, drones as well as demining, communication and night-vision surveillance equipment.
The Armenian government sanctioned a 46 percent increase from 2022 in the defense budget in 2023 climbing it to $1.3 billion. On Wednesday, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan ordered to allocate an additional $6.5 million to the country’s Defense Ministry.
In the meantime, some analysts claim that certain countries, including India, have been attempting to fill the void in Armenia’s arms imports created by its largest supplier Russia’s distraction due to the war in Ukraine. According to the estimates of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), Russia was the largest exporter of major arms to Armenia in 2011-2020, supplying nearly all of Armenia’s major arms during the period.