India and Armenia are discussing military cooperation in line with their desire to deepen bilateral relations, Indian Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari said at the end of an official visit to Yerevan on Wednesday.
“These are matters that the leaderships of the two countries discuss on the basis of mutual requirements,” Ansari told reporters when asked about the possibility of Indian-Armenian defense ties. He said that the two states indent to “further our cooperation in the areas of common interest.”
Ansari arrived in Armenia on Monday and held talks with President Serzh Sarkisian and Prime Minister Karen Karapetian the following day.
A statement by Sarkisian’s press office said the two sides agreed on the need “to expand the agenda of cooperation in various areas.” It said they also discussed “the situation and existing challenges in the region” and international efforts to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
Ansari’s talks with Karapetian focused on economic issues, with the Armenian premier saying that his government is ready to put in place “necessary favorable conditions” for Indian companies interested in Armenia. According to official Armenian statistics, Indian-Armenian trade stood at a modest $21 million last year.
India’s arch-foe Pakistan staunchly supports Azerbaijan in the Karabakh conflict, refusing to not only establish diplomatic relations with Armenia but also formally recognize the latter as an independent state. Yerevan pointed to this fact when it vetoed last year Pakistan’s request for an observer status in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO).
Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif again accused Armenia of military aggression against Azerbaijan during an official visit to Baku in October. Speaking after their talks, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev praised Islamabad’s stance and said he and Sharif agreed to step up military cooperation between their nations. In particular, Baku would like to buy sophisticated Pakistani weapons, Aliyev said.
The two leaders reportedly reached an agreement on Pakistani arms supplies to Azerbaijan when they met in Islamabad in February. No details of that agreement were made public.