Armenia and India have had civilizational, cultural, socio-political and economic ties for millennia. It is needless to underscore the paramount importance of even closer and strategic ties between Armenia and India in this ongoing capricious political climate. The 2020’s 44-day aggression of Turkey and Azerbaijan against Armenia and the spread of jihadism in the South Caucasus, the fall of Afghanistan into Talibs’ hands and the intensifying political romance of the belligerent triangle – Pakistan, Turkey and Azerbaijan have made it clear that India and Armenia have no other way out of the aforementioned geopolitical morass than maximizing the cooperation between the 2 oldest civilizations on all levels, including out-of government relationships.
First and foremost, India and Armenia have those common geopolitical and military adversaries – Turkey, Pakistan, Azerbaijan. Every adult person in Armenia and in the Armenian diaspora knows that Pakistan fought alongside Turks and Azeris against the Armenians in Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh) last autumn. Also, Pakistan has always been championing anti-Armenian policy globally: few know that they have not yet recognized Armenia as a sovereign state. On the other hand Turkey with its bellicose politics of Erdoganocracy has already openly announced its plans to advance further into Afghanistan, increase military cooperation with Pakistan and unify the Turkish nations in the Middle Asia and beyond. All this makes Turkey and Azerbaijan passionate supporters of Pakistan’s anti-Indian policy and thus harms the very interests of India.
Then, it is always of utmost significance to stress the civilizational ties between Armenia and India, including the respective communities in both countries. The two old nations have had established ties for thousands of years including but not limited to religious, economic, political and cultural relationships. The Armenian presence and input in India got to its peak in the late middle ages when the Armenian merchants were competing with the famous British East India Company quite successfully. It was not accidental that the 18th-century writer and philosopher, notable figure in the Armenian liberation movement and a wealthy Armenian merchant Shahamir Shahamirian published and promoted the first modern Armenian constitution in India’s Madras (now Chennai) in the 1770s. Most recently, the two nations have achieved remarkable results in terms of science and high technologies, startups and chess which is another proof of ties on all levels and in all sectors.
Last but not least, India has now got a unique chance of getting a very fresh expertise and knowledge of the 6th generation war strategies and tactics as the Armenian nation went through it last autumn. There are on-ground possibilities of establishing joint Armenia-India military centers including but not limited to military schools with joint curricula, military analytics group of high-ranking military personnel from India and Armenia as well as joint Indian-Armenian militia forces and even private military companies. The roadmap to achieve this high-level military cooperation can be discussed separately and by respective authorities and stakeholders. Both nations will maximize security and safety of their people if they delineate a clear strategy to fight jihadism and the belligerent triangle of Pakistan, Turkey and Azerbaijan. It is understandable that joint Indian-Armenian militia forces and private military companies can stage remarkable results against the jihadists and against the above-mentioned belligerent triangle.
In the end it is vital to understand that Armenia is going through immense challenges which may make it difficult to run the aforementioned projects only through the G2G (government to government) medium. As the founder of the Armenian Network State, a pan-Armenian movement that unites the World Armenians, I have stressed a number of times the importance of establishing out-of-box ties between the two nations which should absolutely include government – movement ties, involving the World Armenians and the Indian Diaspora. I’ve already got some chances to present the out-of-box cooperation mechanisms with India (including venture investment opportunities and joint hi-tech projects) to respective Indian authorities and want to reach out to the broader public and respective decision-makers with the same idea as the time works against both of us – Indians and Armenians.
To sum up, I want to recall one interesting story by the Armenian Network State citizen and a notable Armenian politician and statesman Hrant Khachatryan from his meeting with a high-ranking Indian officer at the Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi in late 1990s. At the meeting, the officer made it clear to Mr Hrant Khachatryan that the Armenian river Araks which borders Turkey is of importance to India as well since India is interested in protecting Armenia’s border with Turkey which has made its expansionist politics, especially towards east, quite evident. Times have changed but that approach must not.
About the author: Vahram Ayvazyan is the founder of the Armenian Network State. He is an International Relations and Genocide scholar, startup founder and a Climate Reality Leader, personally trained by former US vice president Al Gore.