Why is Pakistan a source of concern for Armenia?
Primarily, it has been a regular supplier of weapons and ammunition to the Azerbaijani Armed Forces since its establishment as an independent nation after the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991.
Second, Pakistan is the only state that has not recognized Armenia, to show its solidarity with Turkey and Azerbaijan, since its independence from the Soviet Union.
In return, these countries support Pakistan in international forums on contentious issues, including its removal from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) “grey list” and Kashmir.
Pakistan’s partnership with Azerbaijan was strengthened in 2017 when the former signed a contract for the purchase of 10 PAC MFI-17 Mushshak trainer aircraft, delivery of which was made in 2018.
Conversely, Azerbaijan is also negotiating with Pakistan for the purchase of the “Block 3” variant of the JF-17, originally designed by China with Russian-made RD-33 engines.
This proved to be a hurdle for both parties, as any JF-17 deal requires permission from Russia before exporting it to a buyer country.
This will continue until China replaces the RD-33 engine with a locally developed one.
The question arises as to why Pakistan opposes Armenia and supports Turkey and Azerbaijan. One of the simple answers to this is that Armenia has good relations with India, a sad point for Pakistan.
It has therefore entered into a trilateral relationship with Turkey and Azerbaijan to offset any growing association with its neighbors.
During the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh war, Pakistan openly maintained its support for Azerbaijan.
Its direct and/or indirect actions towards Armenia run the risk of turning a contentious issue into a war.
Russia had rightly warned that the involvement of Turkey or other nations could trigger World War III if hostilities in Karabakh are not resolved.
The growing trilateral cooperation between Turkey, Azerbaijan and Pakistan in terms of defense ties would only lead to a tense West Asia, as their alliance would weaken Armenia until major powers like Russia stand upright.
Armenia’s position is only more secure due to the deployment of a Russian military base and its membership in the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) and the Eurasian Economic Union.
Pakistan is a strong supporter of the Azerbaijani position on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, while Turkey provides training for Azerbaijani military officers at its institutes and offers first-hand experience in combat operations against the Party militants. Kurdistan Workers (PKK).
To counter the alliance or to balance its position, Armenia must enter into more strategic alliances with Russia and others to hold joint military exercises to enhance the capabilities of troops in war situations.
Armenia considers the cause of its defeat in the November 2020 war against the trilateral alliance of Pakistan, Turkey and Azerbaijan, but believes it is possible to reset relations and normalization.
To onboard Turkey, the first round of talks between Turkey and Armenia kicked off in Moscow on January 14, 2022 with the possibility of launching commercial flights between Istanbul and Yerevan by the first week of February 2022.
Lately, we see that Armenia is also willing to change its relations with Pakistan.
Recently, the Armenian President addressed a message to Pakistan to initiate a dialogue without contradicting its good and deep relations with India.
Previously, Pakistan did not respond to Armenian overtures, but with Turkey working to advance the dialogue, it may soon consider the proposal to have diplomatic relations.
Time will tell if Pakistan will maintain its position of not recognizing Armenia as an independent state to appease Turkey or start a dialogue at the request of Crown Prince Mohammed bil Salman who was approached by the Armenian President in October 2021 to reach out to Pakistan.
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