By Rashid Shirinov
Armenia has once again entered the top three most militarized countries in the world, according to the Global Militarization Index 2017 analysis, prepared by the Bonn International Center for Conversion (BICC).
The ranking is based on three parameters: the ratio of military spending to GDP, proportion of the population engaged in this sphere, and number of heavy weapons per capita. Armenia scored 832.7 out of 1,000 maximum possible points, thus ranking third in the world and first in Europe. Obviously, this is not what Armenia should be proud of.
Against this background, it is noteworthy that the Armenian Parliament has today ratified the agreement on Moscow’s granting a $100-million defense loan to Yerevan.
In accordance with the intergovernmental agreement signed on October 24, Russia will provide Armenia with the state export credit for financing the supplies of military products of Russian production. The loan with the term of use from 2018 to 2022 will be issued with a maturity of 15 years at 3 percent per annum.
In addition, Armenian media have recently reported that according to the draft budget for 2018, spending on education and healthcare will be further reduced in Armenia next year, but the defense spending will, vice versa, increase.
Obviously, the Armenian leadership is trying to gain military power in order to be able to withstand the power of the Azerbaijani army in case of a new war in Nagorno-Karabakh. However, the Armenian army will never be able to compare to the strength of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces, which is several times higher than Armenia’s. Therefore, it would be more appropriate for the Armenian government to allocate the funds to improving the well-being of the country’s citizens, rather than to blindly spend them on military purposes. Given that Armenia has big difficulties with funds as its economy is in a permanent crisis, the military expenses intercept the funds that could have been spent on social sector, agriculture and other suffering spheres.
Taking into account all this arming-directed policy of the Armenian government and the continuing emigration from Armenia, the country can soon advance in the global militarization ranking, occupying the first or second places now belonging to Israel and Singapore.
Rashid Shirinov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @RashidShirinov
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