India’s The Economic Times daily reported on Thursday that the landmark deal was arranged by the governments of the two nations and signed in September. The weapons will be delivered to Armenia “over the coming months,” it said, citing unnamed sources.
According to the New Delhi-based paper, they include the Pinaka multiple-launch rocket systems designed and manufactured by Indian firms and increasingly used by India’s armed forces. There was no word on the number of such systems commissioned by Yerevan.
Pinaka was first supplied to the Indian army two decades ago and has been repeatedly modernized since then. Two of its existing variants have an estimated maximum range of 40 and 60 kilometers. Armenia would be the first foreign buyer of these weapons.
Armenia’s government and Defense Ministry did not comment on the report which came amid Yerevan’s and New Delhi’s efforts to deepen bilateral ties. Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan and his Indian counterpart Subrahmanyam Jaishankar have held four face-to-face meetings over the past year.
Visiting Yerevan in July this year, another senior Indian diplomat said the two sides are discussing “long-term” military cooperation.
Armenian military officials reportedly visited India in June. The Mumbai-based news service dnaindia.com said that they “came armed with a shopping list.”
India’s arch-foe Pakistan strongly supported Azerbaijan during the 2020 Armenian-Azerbaijani war over Nagorno-Karabakh. But it denied reports 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 and has effectively sided Armenia with in its intensifying border dispute with Azerbaijan.
The dispute escalated on September 13-14 into large-scale fighting on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border which left more than 200 Armenian soldiers dead. Officials in Yerevan complained afterwards about the Armenian army’s lack of modern weapons, responding to opposition claims that Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian’s administration has done little to rebuild the Armenian armed forces after the 2020 war.
In an apparent reference to Russia, Pashinian claimed in this regard on Thursday that “our allies” have failed to deliver weapons to Armenia despite contracts signed with them in the last two years.
“We have cases where hundreds of millions of dollars have been paid but contractual obligations towards Armenia are not being fulfilled, including by allied countries,” he said without elaborating.
Russia has long been the principal supplier of weapons and other military equipment to Armenia.