Army strengthening Azerbaijan’s top priority

By: Mushvig Mehdiyev

Azerbaijan attaches greater attention and importance to the improvement and modernization of its army’s capabilities, including combat readiness level both in terms of defense and attack operations.

Both national and international reports on Azerbaijan’s military have confirmed that Baku has increased its military focus, looking to further strengthen the role of its armed forces.

“The strengthening of the armed forces is one of Azerbaijan’s key priorities,” said Zakir Hasanov, Defense Minister, in his recent address.

At the opening ceremony of a modern military unit on the front area on February 28, Hasanov stated that as a result of the president’s attention and care, the military and troops’ moral-psychological training, as well as the material-technical base of the armed forces have been recently strengthened.

“The social conditions of the personnel have been improved compared to previous periods. A third military unit has been opened over the last three months along with some additional units planned to open this year,” he noted.

He added that Azerbaijan achieved to provide the army with modern weapons and equipment, to commission new military camps and apartments over the recent years.

“All this is the result of the attention and care rendered by the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces of Azerbaijan,” he said.

Going on his address, Hasanov referred to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict as Azerbaijan’s most painful problem.

“Much work is being done to fairly resolve this conflict. The armed forces must stand strong in order to prevent the Azerbaijani people from facing such a tragedy ever again,” he noted.

The liberation of the occupied lands is not far given the ongoing strengthening of the armed forces, believes Hasanov.

Hasanov’s regular visits to all military units have helped towards combat-readiness and improvement, all which is needed in view of successfully opposing Armenia’s incursions and resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

Azerbaijan, which lost 20 percent of its territory to Armenian military occupation in the 1990s has boosted its military in view of liberating its lands. It has set this mission as a top priority for 2015.

Armenia has so far ignored calls from the international community to withdraw from the Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent regions, which regions have been recognized to belong to Azerbaijan.

Armenia fought a lengthy war against Azerbaijan in the early 1990s. The conflict claimed the lives of hundreds of ethnic Azerbaijanis. Armenia keeps under control one fifth of Azerbaijan territory and caused over a million of Azerbaijanis to live as IDPs and refugees in their homeland.

Regular incursions against Azerbaijan on the contact line by Armenia represent a threat Azerbaijan armed forces have had to constantly manage.

Although the international community has stepped in, trying to broker a fair resolution to the conflict, Armenia has proven to be unresponsive.

Azerbaijan however has shown exemplary tolerance and commitment towards peace, especially in the light of ongoing Armenian acts of sabotage. That being said Azerbaijan reserves the right to military measures against Armenia should it needs to.