BAKU: Azerbaijan to buy Pakistani weapons – paper

Azerbaijan to buy Pakistani weapons – paper

Ayna, Baku
21 Jul 04

Azerbaijan is interested in buying Pakistani weapons, the Azerbaijani
daily Ayna has reported. The newspaper quoted an independent military
expert as saying that military agreements may be signed during an
upcoming visit to Azerbaijan by Pakistan’s Gen Muhammad Aziz
Khan. Pakistan can help Azerbaijan form a national military-industrial
complex, he said. “Almost 10 Azerbaijani officers are studying in
Pakistan. I believe that if the talks go well and an agreement is
reached, then this number will increase many times over,” the expert
added. The following is the text of C. Sumarinli report by
Azerbaijani newspaper Ayna on 21 July headlined “Pakistan will help
form our military industry” and subheaded “Military sources say that
Azerbaijan is interested in assault rifles made in
Pakistan”. Subheadings have been inserted editorially:

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (which includes
the navy, airforce and ground troops), Gen Muhammad Aziz Khan, is to
visit Azerbaijan in about two weeks, the Pakistani ambassador to
Azerbaijan, Faiz Mohammed Khoso, told journalists several days ago.

He said that the visit will take place at the invitation of
Azerbaijan. Khan will meet Azerbaijani Defence Minister Col-Gen Safar
Abiyev and other officials. Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev is also
expected to receive Khan. During the meeting the sides will discuss
military cooperation.

Official military cooperation between Azerbaijan and Pakistan began in
May 2001 when Abiyev visited that country and signed a joint
declaration with Pakistani Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar. The
agreement envisaged that Pakistan will render Azerbaijan assistance in
military training, education, health, as well as technical aid.

Pakistan’s military education is one of the best in the world. For
instance, the military academy and military communications college in
Pakistan have excellent equipment and personnel. The national defence
college of Pakistan’s military academy is compared with the world’s
leading military education centres. Experts especially note the
special nature of Pakistan’s military education.

In terms of logistics and equipment, the Pakistani armed forces are
very developed and regarded as one of the strongest armies in the
world, experts say.

Talks failed in 2001

We have obtained information from military sources that the
Azerbaijani delegation and their Pakistani counterparts discussed the
purchase of weapons and military hardware in May 2001. For some
reason, however, the deal did not materialize. But chances are high
that the talks will be successful in 2004.

Currently, there are 14 military plants in Pakistan. These facilities
mainly produce small arms, grenade-launchers and machine guns. Some
work was carried out recently to start mass production of military
hardware. For this reason, Pakistan may offer its close ally
Azerbaijan military hardware and weapons at discount prices. This is
crucial for the Azerbaijani government because Armenia, which has
occupied our territories, buys weapons and military hardware from
Russia at reduced prices in accordance with the regulations of the
Collective Security Treaty Organization.

Pakistani assault rifles

Military sources say that Azerbaijan is most interested in acquiring
assault rifles made in Pakistan. They are not inferior in quality to
Kalashnikov assault rifles used by our army and are cheaper.

An independent military expert, retired Lt-Col Uzeyir Cafarov, told
Ayna in an interview that military relations between the two countries
can be described as satisfactory at the moment. “The first time the
Pakistani military visited Azerbaijan was in 1992. By now there have
been numerous meetings between Azerbaijani and Pakistani
servicemen. Khan’s visit will create conditions for signing a number
of documents. They will mainly concern the issues discussed during the
recent visit to Azerbaijan by Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf.”

Developing Azerbaijan’s military-industrial complex

In the near future, the relationship between the two countries will
become even more dynamic, Cafarov said. “The documents to be signed
during Khan’s visit will concern the formation of Azerbaijan’s
military-industrial complex and the intensification of exchange
programmes for military personnel. It is very important for Azerbaijan
to form a national military-industrial complex. Almost 10 Azerbaijani
officers are studying in Pakistan. I believe that if the talks go well
and an agreement is reached, then this number will increase many times

Cafarov confirmed that the Pakistani army is one of the strongest
armies in the world and there is a lot Azerbaijan can learn from
Pakistan. “The Pakistani army is mainly formed on the basis of NATO
and some local standards. They have completed a lot of military
reforms. Therefore, I believe that Azerbaijan must maintain close
military cooperation, as well an open and free exchange with

Cafarov also touched on the prospects for Azerbaijan’s purchase of
weapons from Pakistan. “I reckon that this will be done in the
future. At this stage, Azerbaijan may obtain some important military
equipment from Pakistan. In general, these two countries can establish
trade in military hardware in the future.”