On March 1, 2020, India outperformed Russia and Poland in a US$ 40 million defense deal with Armenia to supply it with four domestically made SWATHI counter-battery radars. The system is developed by India’s Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) and manufactured by Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL). It provides accurate information on enemy artillery firing positions weapons up to 75 kilometers away. The decision came amid India’s growing efforts to boost its national “Make in India” brand in the defense industry sector, which could make new inroads into European, Middle Eastern and Asian defense markets. However, the new Indian – Armenian defense deal could undermine Delhi’s relations with Russia on the one hand, and Azerbaijan, Turkey and Pakistan on the other.
BACKGROUND: In recent years, Indian-Armenian bilateral cooperation saw rapid growth, culminating with a high-level Indian delegation visiting Yerevan in 2017, led by then Vice-President Hamid Ansari. For Armenia, close relations with India are vitally important as the latter provides a counter balance to the rival strategic axis between Azerbaijan, Pakistan and Turkey. After the 2016 four-day war in Nagorno-Karabakh, resulting in some Azerbaijani territorial gains, Armenia has sought to boost its military capabilities. Continue reading