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Not just weapons and connectivity, Armenia now keen to become India’s partner in space

Armenian Security Council chief Armen Grigoryan with National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval in New Delhi on Tuesday (Image courtesy: Security Council of Armenia)

India and Armenia continue to rapidly expand their ties with Yerevan maintaining its deep interest in not just acquiring the latest Indian military hardware but also exploring “possible joint projects” in the field of space industry post Chandrayaan-3 mission success.

On Tuesday, Armenian Security Council chief Armen Grigoryan travelled to New Delhi – his second visit to the Indian capital in last 10 months – and held discussions with National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval on issues related to regional security developments.

Grigoryan’s office said that both security chiefs spotlighted with satisfaction the development process of Armenian-Indian bilateral relations and discussed the prospects of developing new partnerships in a number of fields.

“Congratulations on the successful landing of the Chandrayaan-3 mission on the moon. Within the framework of the above, we discussed the implementation of possible joint projects in the field of space industry,” Secretary of the Security Council of Armenia wrote on his Facebook page after the meeting with NSA Doval.

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Both top officials also met in November last year when Grigoryan travelled to New Delhi to meet NSA Doval and held talks on the “rapid implementation” of the agreements reached in the field of security between the two countries.

The meeting was also attended by the then Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) chief Samant Kumar Goel.

The significant visits have taken place amid the military conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan due to the decades-long dispute over the Nagorno-Karabakh region.

Right from the beginning of the hostilities, India has maintained a consistent position with regard to the disturbances in the Caucasus region and called for a peaceful resolution of the issue through diplomatic means.

“I presented (to NSA Ajit Doval) the humanitarian crisis of Nagorno Karabakh and highlighted the importance of the international community’s involvement in overcoming it,” said Grigoryan on Tuesday.

With Turkey and Pakistan backing Azerbaijan to the hilt, Yerevan has been keen on building a strong strategic partnership with New Delhi. It all began with India supplying Armenia with four Swathi Weapon Locating Radars (WLRs) developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) at a cost of $40 million in 2020.

Since then, from indigenously-developed Pinaka Extended Range multi-barrel rocket launchers and laser-guided Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM) to the New Generation Akash (Akash-NG) missile, the government led by Nikol Pashinyan has shown keen interest in getting latest defence equipment from India.

As reported by IndiaNarrative.com, Armenian Deputy Defence Minister Karen Brutyan visited Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and BrahMos stalls during the ‘Army 2023’ International Military-Technical Forum in Moscow earlier this month and held discussions on the defence systems being showcased.

Interestingly, Brutyan showed keen interest in all three variants of the BrahMos missile.

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Deputy Defence Minister of Armenia, Karen Brutyan at the BrahMos pavilion (Image courtesy: BrahMos Aerospace)

A high-level delegation from the South Caucasus country, led by Armenian Defence Minister Suren Papikyan, has also visited DefExpo with an aim of expanding bilateral military and military-technical cooperation between the two countries.

The collaborative partnerships have been taking many other forms as both countries work on enhancing trade through the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) by utilization of the Chabahar port in Iran which is being developed by India.

Landlocked Armenia is a key member of the project to establish the vast pan-Eurasian transport network and has shown keen interest in the utilization of Chabahar port which India is pushing to include in the INSTC framework.

The centuries-old India-Armenia connect makes the bond even stronger.

On Wednesday, Papikyan received a 17-member delegation from India’s National Defence College (NDC) which is on a three-day visit to Armenia.

Led by NDC Commandant Lieutenant General Sukriti Singh Dahiya, the delegation consists of senior military and civilian representatives from India, France, Brazil, Nigeria, Mongolia and Sri Lanka.

As part of the visit, the touring party – along with India’s Ambassador to Armenia Nilakshi Saha Sinha – has already met with Armenian Armed Forces chief Lieutenant General Edward Asryan and other high-ranking representatives at the defence ministry headquarters.

Welcoming the delegation on Wednesday, Papikyan highlighted the current course of development and prospects of Armenian-Indian cooperation in the field of defence.

Also Read: India and Russia ready to go full throttle in space partnership following Chandrayaan-3 success