Our Analytics 14 october — 14:45

Indian elephants are now the best friends of Armenian ones: So they think in Yerevan (Topical comment)

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BY ELNUR EMINOGLU, AZERI DAILY AUTHOR

Armenia and India will take steps to raise bilateral defence cooperation to a new level. Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan stated this on October 13 in Yerevan at a joint press-conference with his Indian counterpart Subrahmanyam Jaishankar. The head of the Armenian Foreign Ministry also called India one of the key partners of Armenia.

The first visit of Indian foreign minister to Armenia in 30 years has caused a surge of extraordinary optimism and unhealthy enthusiasm in Yerevan. Local experts agreed that now all the logistical problems for the Armenian side have been resolved, it will get access to the Black Sea and the Indian Ocean. And the partnership between small Armenia and great India, possessing nuclear weapons and occupying the second place in the world in terms of population, may well be equal and mutually beneficial.

Subrahmanyam Jaishankar's visit to Yerevan triggered a surge of extraordinary and unhealthy optimism in the Armenian elite

In a word, such is the 'Hindi-Armenian bhai bhai,' Yerevan and New Delhi will now go hand in hand towards a brighter future. After all, there are a lot of joint plans. And, as they say in Armenia, if until recently India was ready to be content with a highway running through Azerbaijan, then in the new realities only the Armenian transit is seen by the Indian side as promising and profitable from a political point of view.

Subrahmanyam Jaishankar was in no hurry to cool the enthusiasm of ardent Armenian diplomats. Moreover, he fuelled optimism with the proposal to Yerevan to make the port of Chabahar a part of the North-South transport corridor and to take part in its construction and further operation.

True, such a broad gesture turned out to be flawed: today this Iranian port, being built with Indian participation, is one of the largest unfinished construction projects in the world -- sometimes there is not enough investment, then the Iranians and the Indians are beginning to share shares, then some other problems -- in a word, they cannot make it run at full capacity. Unlike the Pakistani Gwadar, located 200 kilometres away, which, as part of the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative, is already reaching its design capacity.

Only Chabahar is wallowing

However, Yerevan has yet to learn in detail about this wormhole in the 'generous' Indian proposal. As well as to face the harsh economic realities in terms of trade turnover. And not on the basis of the false ceremonial reports of the Armenian statistics for the last year, when they gave the figure of 128 million dollars, but with the objective estimates of authoritative international organisations, which estimate it five times less -- 22.6 million.

With such indicators of trade turnover and the state of the Armenian economy, it is simply ridiculous to talk about the prospects for economic partnership between India and Armenia, but the Indians do not set such a goal for themselves. They need Armenia as a 'pebble in the boot,' and in the 'boot' of a real geostrategic and geo-economic alliance Azerbaijan-Pakistan-Turkey.

Moreover, New Delhi began to try on this role for Armenia a long time ago. Everyone remembers 2008, when India for the first time openly took the position of Armenia, rejecting at a meeting of the UN General Assembly the resolution proposed by Azerbaijan recognising 'NKR' as an Armenian-occupied territory. Further more. Indian diplomats no longer avoid using the phrase 'Armenian genocide' in official statements and documents.

And during the 44-day Liberation War, Indian mass media unleashed a real information campaign against Azerbaijan and Turkey, frenzied and hysterical. The events in Nagorno-Karabakh were covered exclusively from the standpoint of Armenia. And the editor of the India Today newspaper wrote in a feverish delirium that 'if the Armenians fail to stop the pro-Turkish mercenaries who have arrived in Karabakh, tomorrow they may end up with arms in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir.'

The real anti-Azerbaijani hysteria has risen in the slums of New Delhi

Finally, everything became clear on May 19 this year, when the Indian Foreign Ministry issued an official statement condemning the 'aggression of Azerbaijan.' It was a clear and unequivocal signal that New Delhi viewed Yerevan as a strategic partner in the South Caucasus. Partner against the alliance of Turkey, Azerbaijan and Pakistan.

All discussions about joint Armenian-Indian economic projects, some kind of 'corridors' and so on are 'talks in favour of the poor,' smoke and mirrors, and information noise. The main task of New Delhi is to ensure that Yerevan actively opposes the policies of Azerbaijan and Turkey. And, accordingly, any of their projects in the South Caucasus.

At the same time, the Hindus also need the vocal skills of Armenians: the louder Yerevan and the international Armenian diaspora at all levels condemn 'Kashmiri separatism and its Pakistani sponsors,' the more hysterically they are Islamophobic, the better for New Delhi and the administration of Narendra Modi ruling there today... And Yerevan fully agrees with this distribution of roles. First, in ideological terms, these regimes are quite similar, since both are approximately on the same edge of nationalism. The edge that is closest to Nazism.

Second, both New Delhi and Yerevan are so worried about the Azerbaijan-Pakistan-Turkey union that they 'cannot even eat.' And friendship against someone is the strongest in politics. And in Yerevan they are ready to close their eyes to the fact that economically such 'friendship' will not give anything concretely useful, moreover, it will only create problems and will only complicate the position of Armenia in the region.

A nuclear power with a powerful economy and the second largest population in the world tickled the belly of the revenge-seekers from Yerevan and invited them to play a role in the script written by the Hindus. This turned out to be enough for the Armenian elites to rush headlong into a new adventure, not assessing the threats it pose to them.

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