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France, India perceive Azerbaijan-Pakistan military cooperation as threat

5 March 2024 19:27 (UTC+04:00)
France, India perceive Azerbaijan-Pakistan military cooperation as threat
Fatime Letifova
Fatime Letifova
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Cooperation memoranda signed between Azerbaijan and Pakistan in the military field and joint steps taken have led to considerable progress in the defense industry of Azerbaijan. Covering more than two-decades of history, this cooperation still continues today between the defense ministries of the two states.

It should be noted that working meetings were held between the Pakistani military delegation and high-ranking representatives of the Ministry of Defense of Azerbaijan. During the meetings, in addition to a number of important issues, negotiations were held on the holding of trilateral military exercises between Azerbaijan, Turkiye and Pakistan.

Pakistan is the second country after Turkiye which defended Azerbaijan during the Patriotic War, and it is the only country that does not recognize Armenia as a state since the occupation period back in 1990s.

Pakistan-Azerbaijani military cooperation is also seen as a threat to India and France, which is arming Armenia in the region. Pakistani political expert Shazia Anwer Cheema, who commented on the issue to Azernews, spoke about the history of military cooperation between the two states. She then emphasized the importance of military weapons.

“Pakistan and Azerbaijan share deep defence ties following the signing of a military agreement between the two countries in 2003. This was followed by a decision to conduct joint military drills starting in 2016,” she said.

On this topic, the expert reminded Azerbaijan of weapons imported from Pakistan into the joint military sphere, including warplanes that were recently purchased.

“In February 2024, Pakistan and Azerbaijan inked a deal worth $1.6 billion to export JF-17C Block-III warplanes to Azerbaijan. The deal indicates that Azerbaijan would buy eight JF-17C Block-III aircraft equipped with air-to-surface missiles,” she added.

The professor stated that with this decision, Azerbaijan will have more air supremacy over Armenia, which is using old-aged Russian-design fighter jets.

“This will provide Azerbaijan air supremacy over Armenian old-aged Russian-designed fighter jets,” she noted.

But Azerbaijan’s successes are not the source of happiness for every country in the world. Countries such as France and India, which provided the Armenian army with weapons, are not happy enough since the last provocations that Armenia made on the conventional border with Azerbaijan.

In the new stage of the Azerbaijani-Pakistani joint military field, India's aggression is quite obvious. Given this situation, the expert shared her opinion about it and said that India wants to equip Armenia to harm Azerbaijan and meddle in the South Caucasus.

“India has already been supplying weapons to Armenia for a long time and even supplying arms on a credit basis instead of hard cash because India wants to equip Armenia to harm Azerbaijan,” she stated.

“Indian media was shaken by Pakistan’s latest contract with Azerbaijan over the JF-17 Thunder because India knows that it is a matchless fighter jet,” the expert added.

She presumed that India has probably been feeling rancour against Pakistan since its defeat in the war five years ago. And according to her, that is the reason why India hardly digests Pakistan's selling the jet to Azerbaijan.

“India will never forget how the Pakistan Air Force, equipped with JF-17 Thunders and F-16, shot down two Indian Air Force fighter jets in February 2019 and launched air strikes at six targets in Indian-occupied Kashmir. Pakistan also captured one Indian pilot during these strikes. The Indian Air Force MiG-21 was shot down over Pakistani airspace,” the professor added.

As regards the technical specifications and power of these weapons, military expert Ramil Mammadli noted that Pakistani warplanes are incredibly powerful. Especially JF-17 is very multifunctional and sophisticated because it combines lots of countries' experiences in itself.

“The JF-17 is a successful and problem-free procurement project for Azerbaijan, which combines the most modern technologies of Russia, China, and Pakistan, and the right decision has been made in this regard, and this process is being continued,” he added.

Speaking about the deal on JF-17 Block-III fighter jets, the expert stated that this project between Azerbaijan and Pakistan has been planned since 2007. He added that the main reason for this time lapse was especially France.

“The projects between Azerbaijan and Pakistan regarding the purchase of JF-17s from Pakistan were started in 2007-2008. The main problem here was the participation of companies from France and several other countries in the process of creating this aircraft.

Although the fact that the JF-17's radar system belongs to France made this process somewhat longer, in the end, this issue was resolved. From this point of view, this was not unexpected news, and it was the final result of negotiations conducted for many years,” Ramil Mammadli said.

Commenting on the characteristics of the aircraft, the military expert explained its difference from other combat aircraft. The expert said that the plane can perform both fighter and bomber functions.

“The main feature of this warplane is that it is lightweight, single-engined, and can be used for multiple purposes. The fourth generation can perform both fighter and bomber functions. From this point of view, it can be considered successful,” he added.

Comparing the Turkish Akinci aircraft with the FJ-17, the military expert emphasised that the JF-17 surpasses many of its rivals in terms of flight altitude and the loads of the weapons it carries.

“If we compare Akıncı and JF-17 purchased from Turkiye, we will see that they are aviation vehicles with different purposes. However, we can say that the JF-17's flight altitude and the power of the weapons it carries are greater than Akinci's. As a drone, the Akinci is better at reconnaissance and surveillance. On the battlefield, while the JF-17 is unbeatable,” R. Mammadli underlined.

The expert drew attention to the Armenian, French, and Indian unions in the military corporation. He said that Azerbaijan neither measures its defence capabilities based on the weapons that Armenia bought nor makes any comparison.

“India's arming of Armenia has nothing to do with the signing of the agreement between Pakistan and Azerbaijan on the purchase of Jeff 17 fighter jets. Azerbaijan does not measure its military strength by the number of weapons of Armenia.,” he stated.

Ramil Mammadli stressed that like all military formations and structures in the world, Azerbaijan's current combat aviation vehicles needed to be updated.

“The airplanes used in Azerbaijan's current combat aviation vehicles have been among the best airplanes in the world for many years. Just like all military formations and structures, it needed to be updated,” he said.

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