The Mumbai-based news service dnaindia.com reported this week that the delegation “came armed with a shopping list” when it met with Indian officials last month. Citing an unnamed official, it said that drones “figured prominently on the list.”
The online publication gave no other details of the talks. Nor did it say if any agreements were reached by the two sides.
Armenia’s Defense Ministry on Friday declined to comment on the reported visit of its representatives to India or its broader interest in Indian military hardware.
Visiting Yerevan earlier this month, a senior official from the Indian Ministry of External Affairs said India and Armenia are discussing “long-term” military cooperation as part of their efforts to deepen their ties. The official, Sanjay Verma, spoke during a session of an Indian-Armenian intergovernmental commission on bilateral cooperation.
Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan, who co-chaired the session with Verma, listed “defense and military-technical cooperation” among the areas that are “very promising for our countries.”
Mirzoyan held talks with Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar in April on the sidelines of an international conference held in India. It was their third face-to-face meeting in eight months. Jaishankar visited Armenia last October.
“India sees Armenia not only as a friend but a good counterweight to Turkey whose President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been particularly belligerent on the Kashmir issue and followed a number of policies inimical to India,” wrote dnaindia.com. It noted that India’s arch-foe Pakistan is allied to Turkey and Azerbaijan.
Pakistan strongly supported Azerbaijan during the 2020 Armenian-Azerbaijani war over Nagorno-Karabakh. But it denied claims that Pakistani soldiers participated in the six-week war on the Azerbaijani side.
By contrast, India has backed Karabakh peace efforts spearheaded by the United States, Russia and France. It has backed Armenia in an Armenian-Azerbaijani border dispute that broke out in May 2021. In a statement issued at the time, the Indian foreign ministry called on Baku to “pull back forces immediately and cease any further provocation.”
Armenian military officials had already visited India in August 2018 to discuss possible arms deals. The Times of India daily reported at the time that they showed an interest in the Pinaka multiple-launch rocket systems manufactured by an Indian defense company.
In March 2020, six months before the outbreak of the Karabakh, Indian media reports claimed that Yerevan will pay $40 million to buy four Swathi weapon locating radars from their Indian manufacturer. The deal was never publicly confirmed by the Armenian military.