In light of Armenia’s recent clashes with its neighbour Azerbaijan, India has inked a sizable export order for missiles, rockets, and ammunition. Earlier this month, a number of contracts for the delivery of weapons and ammunition to Armenia were signed.
The Pinaka multi-barrel rocket launchers, which are already in use by the Indian Army, will be exported for the first time with this purchase. The deal will also include anti-tank guided missiles and radars. Though further details are currently unavailable. In early 2020 Armenia purchased Swathi counter-battery radars from India. It is unknown if these radars were used in the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh war.
Though India has signed a lucrative deal, it is unlikely that this purchase or any future arms purchases will benefit Armenia. Azerbaijan has leveraged its wealth from natural resources in order to build a powerful military that is backed by both Turkey and Israel. Which have two of the most capable militaries in the region. Azerbaijan’s military is on the cusp of fully reforming into a modern military, casting its Soviet origins aside. Meanwhile, Armenia is only beginning to modernise its military. However, the disparity is so great that Armenia will never catch up. The USA’s recent offer to provide arms appears more like a political stunt by the Democrat party to gain votes from Armenian-Americans. The sales of drones, fighter aircraft and anti-drone systems wouldn’t be a game changer as some are suggesting. Not only does Azerbaijan have the capability to defeat all these systems, but it can also make use of strategic depth; something which Armenia does not have. If Armenia engaged in an all-out war against Azerbaijan the destruction of Armenian military equipment would be akin to shooting fish in a barrel.
No matter which equipment Armenia acquires, it will make little impact on the balance of power. Armenia must recognize that it needs to make concessions for its 30-year-long occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh and sign a deal with Azerbaijan which would ultimately benefit both nations. There is no other alternative for Armenia. Though it seeks the help of distant powerhouses, it must realise that it is being used as a pawn in the geopolitical game.