DELHI — Defense Minister Suren Papikyan has reportedly expressed interest in buying more Indian-made weapons for Armenia’s armed forces during a visit to India.
He met with his Indian counterpart Rajnath Singh and visited an annual arms exhibition in the Indian city of Gandhinagar on Tuesday.
The Armenian Defense Ministry said Papikyan discussed with Singh ways of expanding Armenian-Indian military ties and “a number of issues of bilateral military-technical cooperation,” an official euphemism for arms supplies. It reported no agreements to that effect reached at the meeting.
In a separate statement, the ministry said that Papikyan spoke with the chief executives of several defense companies when he visited DefExpo 2022 in Gandhinagar and familiarized himself with military hardware displayed there. It did not elaborate.
Indian online news service ThePrint.in reported later on Tuesday that “Armenia is eyeing more defense deals with India.” Citing unnamed sources, it said that Yerevan is specifically interested in acquiring Akash air-defense systems and combat drones also manufactured by Indian companies.
The Indian side has, in fact, officially confirmed that Armenia has ordered three models of rocket launchers called Pinaka, which are to be moved from Delhi to Yerevan in the next two years. Satyanarayan Nuval, the head of a large company engaged in the production of rockets, Solar Industries, announced this during the DEFEXPO exhibition opened yesterday in India.
“We have received an export order for Pinaka1, extended-range Pinaka and manned Pinaka from Armenia. According to the deadline, we should finish all three of them in two years,” said the head of the military industry company.
Armenia and India reportedly signed last month contracts for the supply of $245 million worth of Indian multiple-launch rocket systems, anti-tank rockets and ammunition to the Armenian military.
An Indian newspaper said on September 29 that they will be delivered to Armenia “over the coming months.” The Armenian government did not deny the report which came amid Yerevan’s and New Delhi’s efforts to deepen bilateral ties.