New Delhi: Azerbaijan on Wednesday, July 26, summoned the Indian ambassador and lodged a protest about India’s defence ties with Armenia with videos that allegedly show transfer of Indian weapons to Armenia through Iran.
Earlier on July 26, an Azeri media outlet released a grainy video which showed a truck with its cargo under a blue tarpaulin moving across the Nurduz border point from Iran to Armenia. The report claimed that as per their sources, the truck was carrying military cargo from India to Armenia.
Based on those videos, the Azerbaijan government submitted a protest to the government.
As per the state-run Azerbaijan Press Agency (APA), the Assistant to the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Head of Foreign Policy Affairs Department of the Presidential Administration Hikmat Hajiyev met with the Indian ambassador, Sridharan Madhusudhanan.
“During the meeting, Hikmat Hajiyev said that the Azerbaijani side is concerned about deepening military cooperation between Armenia and India and the dissemination of photos and videos in the media about transferring Indian-made weapon systems to Armenia through Iran in recent days,” said the APA report.
Azerbaijan’s diplomatic confrontation with India comes amidst the flashpoint of Nagorno-Karabakh again revving up to a crisis. On July 25, Armenia said that it will send a convoy of food assistance to the breakaway region that has been facing shortages due to a blockade. Azerbaijan blocked the cavalcade and termed it as a “provocation”, as per Radio Free Europe.
In Baku, the senior Azeri official claimed that India’s delivery of lethal weapons to Armenia came against ongoing negotiations for a peace deal between the two Eurasian states.
Stating that it will lead to “militarisation” of Armenia and aggravate the situation, Hajiyev said alleged Indian weapon transfers were “obstacles to the establishment of sustainable peace and security in the South Caucasus region”.
“It is incompatible both with India’s self-proclaimed foreign policy based on the norms and principles of international law as well as the historical ‘Bandung Principles’ of the Non-Aligned Movement that India is party to,” said the Azeri official, as quoted by APA.
As per the news report, the Indian ambassador said that Azerbaijan’s concerns will be communicated accordingly to New Delhi. Madhusudhanan also apparently said that it was important to conduct a dialogue on issues of concern in bilateral relations, which was accepted by Hajiyev.
There has been no official response from India till now.
Last September, Indian media reports said that Armenia and India had signed a major defence deal for procurement of Pinaka multi-rocket launch systems and their ammunition. It was only the latest in a long list of weapons that Armenia was shopping in India.
According to an analysis by Delhi-based think tank ORF, the defence transfer meant that “India has overtly positioned itself on Armenia’s side in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, and has consequently opted to resist Azerbaijan and its backers including Turkey and Pakistan as well as Ankara’s expansionist pan-Turkic ambitions”.