India Has An Opportunity In Armenia It Must Not Let Go Of


Feb 27 2024


  • This opportunity allows India's defense industry to tap into a new market and sends a clear message to detractors about facing consequences for actions against India's interests.
  • Armenia is buying a substantial amount of weapons and equipment from India after it suffered a humiliating defeat by Azerbaijan in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict fought in 2020.

    Armenia and Azerbaijan have clashed over Nagorno-Karabakh, or 'Artsakh' in Armenian, for decades, with conflicts tracing back to the early twentieth century.

    Established by the Soviets in 1923 within Azerbaijani borders but predominantly Armenian, the region sought to join Armenia in 1988.

    Following the Soviet Union's collapse, intense fighting ensued, resulting in over 30,000 deaths and Armenian control over the entire region.

    Since then, both nations have engaged in numerous conflicts, the latest in 2020, when Azerbaijan overpowered Armenian forces in Artsakh. Azerbaijan's adoption of modern warfare tactics, including the strategic use of drones and loitering munitions, led to the significant loss of Armenia's older and conventional Russian-made military equipment.

    This loss led Armenia to diversify its arms sources, turning to India for millions of dollars' worth of weaponry over the past four years.

    In 2020, India delivered four Swathi Weapons Locating Radars (WLR) to Armenia for counter-battery operations. Additionally, in September 2022, India supplied Pinaka 214 mm multiple-barrel rocket launchers, their ammunition, and anti-tank missiles, followed by 155mm artillery guns in November 2022.

    Furthermore, Armenia acquired anti-drone systems worth $41 million from India's Zen Technologies, along with Akash surface-to-air missile systems.

    These weapons imports will bridge a critical gap in the Armenian inventory.

    The Russians, preoccupied with sourcing their war supplies from North Korea and Iran for the conflict in Ukraine, cannot meet Armenian demands.

    Additionally, the apathy of Russian peacekeepers during the Azerbaijani blockade of the Lachin corridor — Artsakh's sole land route from Armenia — has fostered perceptions of Russian bias towards Azerbaijan among Armenians.

    Russia's preoccupation with the war in Ukraine has created a void which India can fill.

    Apart from the weapons exports to Armenia to help it fight Azerbaijan, India could send trainers to the county to help them effectively utilise these weapons.

    Additionally, Indian military advisors could be sent to Armenia to assist Armenian commanders in making informed decisions, as well as, help in planning.

    India's decision to provide Armenia access to weapons in the middle of the war had irked Azerbaijan, with its President Ilham Aliyev and military warning India to stop providing weapons to Yerevan, adding that this could lead to another war.

    Azerbaijan is also emboldened by both material and strategic support it is getting from Pakistan and Turkey. Both Turkey and Pakistan have provided cover fire to Baku's actions in Artsakh, strongly supporting Azerbaijani control over Artsakh.

    Azerbaijan, like Turkey, has always supported Pakistan when it comes to Islamabad's revisionist agenda against India in Jammu and Kashmir.

    India should use help from Greece — whose Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis was in India last week where he discussed ways to strengthen ties with India, and which also has an adversarial relationship with Turkey — to counter the trio of Azerbaijan-Turkey-Pakistan that have repeatedly shown inclinations against Indian interests.

    Notably, Greece and Turkey have historical tensions, with multiple conflagrations and dog-fights erupting between Greek and Turkish jets across decades.

    This support to Armenia will not only help in lifting India's stature but will also demonstrate its will to safeguard its interests far away from its border.

    Not only does this opportunity present a chance for India's emerging defence industrial complex to find a new market, but it also gives New Delhi a chance to demonstrate to its detractors that they cannot escape repercussions for actions that harm its interests. With such significant stakes, letting go of this opportunity is simply not an option.

    Armenian MP Advocates for Artsakh Armenians’ Rights in Talks with French Delegation

    Feb 24 2024

    In the heart of Yerevan, a meeting that could subtly shift the scales of international diplomacy took place, bringing together Levon Kocharyan, a member of Armenia's opposition Hayastan faction and an MP, with representatives from the French parliamentary delegation. This gathering, part of the Armenia-France Friendship Group, was not just a diplomatic formality but a fervent plea for the safety and repatriation of Artsakh Armenians—a testament to the enduring spirit of a people in the face of adversity.

    During the meeting, Kocharyan extended a heartfelt thank you to the French representatives for standing with the Armenian people through thick and thin. His words were not mere formalities but a reflection of a deep-seated concern for the future of Artsakh Armenians. With a clear and unwavering voice, he underscored the unacceptable nature of the forced depopulation of the Artsakh Republic. The essence of his message was clear: the right of Artsakh Armenians to return and live safely in their homeland is non-negotiable. This sentiment, shared in a post on Telegram, resonated as a call for continued support from France in these critical endeavors.

    The backdrop to this meeting is a tapestry of complex geopolitical tensions and historical ties. Recent visits by French officials to Armenia amid escalating tensions with Azerbaijan underscore France's commitment to peace and stability in the region. Furthermore, discussions between Armenian officials and French parliamentarians have highlighted the longstanding relations between the two nations, including support for Armenia in the European Parliament and the French Senate. These engagements reflect a broader international concern for the plight of those forcibly displaced from Nagorno-Karabakh, emphasizing the importance of international solidarity in addressing these humanitarian crises.

    The meeting between Kocharyan and the French delegation is a poignant reminder of the power of international diplomacy in advocating for human rights and safety. As the world watches, the commitment of nations like France to the cause of Artsakh Armenians offers a glimmer of hope in a seemingly intractable conflict. It is a call to the global community to stand united in the face of aggression and to champion the cause of those who seek nothing more than to live in peace and security in their ancestral lands.

    The dialogue that unfolded in Yerevan is more than a mere discussion—it is a beacon of hope for the Artsakh Armenians and a testament to the enduring power of international solidarity. As these conversations continue to evolve, the unwavering spirit and resilience of the Armenian people remain a powerful force for change, echoing through the halls of diplomacy and beyond.

    Iran ready to ensure the strategic security of the South Caucasus given its red lines


    YEREVAN, FEBRUARY 15, ARMENPRESS. Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi  has welcomed the peace talks between Armenia and Azerbaijan, expressing Iran’s readiness to ensure the strategic security of the Caucasus region given the red lines of the Islamic Republic in this regard.

    Raisi made the remarks on Thursday in a meeting with the Deputy Prime Minister of Armenia Mher Grigoryan, reports IRNA.

    According to the source, President Ebrahim Raisi said that Iran is opposed to outsiders' presence in the region on the pretext of resolving issues.

    He added that not only does the outsiders' involvement in regional issues lead to no solutions, but it brings about more severe challenges.

    The Iranian President described relations between Tehran and Yerevan as historical, friendly, and constructive.

    Touching on the issue of Caucasus, he said that Iran attaches importance to maintaining the stability and security in the region.

    It is noted that Raisi welcomed the peace talks between Armenia and the Republic of Azerbaijan, expressing Iran’s readiness to ensure the strategic security of the Caucasus region given the red lines of the Islamic Republic in this regard.

    He supported the full implementation of all agreements between Tehran and Yerevan, saying that the realization of the cases requires efforts and the joint economic commission of the two countries to pursue them.

    Sts. Vartanantz Church in Providence celebrates Vartanantz Day

    His Eminence Archbishop Anoushavan Tanielian celebrating the Divine Liturgy at Sts. Vartanantz Church in Providence on February 11, 2024

    PROVIDENCE, R.I.—Sts. Vartanantz Armenian Apostolic Church joyfully celebrated its name day under the auspices of His Eminence Archbishop Anoushavan Tanielian on Sunday, February 11. A full church of faithful parishioners gathered together as Archbishop Tanielian celebrated the Divine Liturgy and ordained Matthew Burke to the rank of acolyte. The son of Jon and Paula (Markarian) Burke, Matthew is a Sunday School student and dedicated altar server. His family, including sisters Melissa and Mia, humbly watched as Burke was ordained.

    Following the ordination ceremony, Archbishop Tanielian offered an inspirational message, asking parishioners to ponder on Jesus’ great sacrifice for the sins of our foreparents. His Eminence offered an analogy about the glory of God and the pricelessness of what He gives to us. Archbishop Tanielian said that if you give the choice of a toy or a diamond to a child, they will choose the toy, because they don’t know the value of the diamond. In the same way, God has provided us with the most beautiful and gracious diamond: eternal life. So, let us knowingly and consciously appreciate all that God has given to us. His Eminence closed by asking that, in celebration of Vartanantz Day, we become spiritual warriors and use our gift of free will to follow Christ’s mission.

    Providence Homenetmen Scouts during the Divine Liturgy celebrated by His Eminence Archbishop Anoushavan Tanielian

    The annual Vartanantz Day dinner, prepared and served by the church’s Ladies’ Guild and Men’s Club, was held in the Aramian Auditorium after the Divine Liturgy. Welcoming remarks were provided by Board of Trustees chairman Levon Attarian, who also served as emcee for the afternoon. Attarian invoked memories of attending these always sold-out events on Vartanantz Day as a child. “This is what Sundays are all about – coming together for worship and being around friends and family – this is what makes us Sts. Vartanantz Church,” he said.

    His Eminence Archbishop Anoushavan Tanielian and Rev. Fr. Kapriel Nazarian with new-ordained acolyte Matthew Burke

    Attarian once again congratulated Burke and his family. “You are a great ambassador of our Sunday School,” he said. “Your dedication of serving the altar is an inspiration to the future of our church and brings promise that you will be a future leader of this community.”

    In keeping with His Holiness Catholicos Aram I proclaiming 2024 as “The Year of Human Resource Development,” Rev. Fr. Kapriel Nazarian and the Board of Trustees selected Raffi Rachdouni as this year’s Vartanantz Day honoree. Rachdouni has been involved in church life since early childhood. He plays a vital role at the church’s summer Bible Camp and is the music instructor for the Mourad Armenian Saturday School and for the Eastern Prelacy’s Siamanto Academy. Rachdouni is also co-creator of the Mourad Armenian School Dzapig-Tatig program for children from one-and-a-half to three years old. “He touches the lives of the youth of our community and the Prelacy, ranging from infants to high school students,” Attarian said.

    Honoree Raffi Rachdouni (2nd from left) pictured with Board chairman Levon Attarian, His Eminence Archbishop Anoushavan Tanielian and Rev. Fr. Kapriel Nazarian

    Rachdouni has held various leadership roles in the Homenetmen, Armenian Youth Federation and Armenian Revolutionary Federation. “These organizations have taught him organizational and leadership skills, instilled a sense of duty and responsibility and a love for his Armenian nation, all of which he applies through his work with the church and within the church community and make him the leader he is today,” Attarian said. Rachdouni is married to Bethany (Sousa), and they are the proud parents of Marcos, Tomas and Rafael.

    Raffi Rachdouni and Matthew Burke with R.I. State Senator David Tikoian, who presented them with citations from the R.I. Senate

    Rachdouni and Burke both received certificates from Archbishop Tanielian, along with his kind remarks. State Senator David Tikoian began his remarks with words of praise for Archbishop Tanielian and his bond with the Rhode Island community. The senator then addressed Rachdouni and Burke before presenting them with citations from the Rhode Island Senate, saying, “I just read somewhere recently that said if you put God first, everything else will fall into place. I can’t think of two better examples than these two individuals.” Sen. Tikoian expressed his pride in requesting the citations, saying that not only is it the right thing to do as a proud Armenian, but also that “it showcases the good things that the Armenian community is doing,” which are then reflected at the State House.

    Rachdouni then took the podium and expressed his appreciation for receiving the Vartanantz Day honor. “I’m a proud servant of Sts. Vartanantz Church, working with our wonderful Armenian youth,” he said. “I’m grateful that my family and community enriched my life with music and culture. It is my humble pleasure to educate and pass on those traditions to the future generations.”

    Rev. Fr. Nazarian also congratulated Burke and his family for their dedication to serving our church and praised Rachdouni as a great example for his peers. Archbishop Tanielian offered the closing remarks, blessing those in attendance. To conclude the afternoon, everyone sang “Giligia.”

    Armenian FM says demarcation should be based on the most recent USSR maps

    Mediamax, Armenia
    Feb 10 2024

    Yerevan /Mediamax/. Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan said that the demarcation process between Armenia and Azerbaijan should be carried out on the basis of the most recent and legitimate maps of the USSR.

    Armenian Foreign Ministry reports that he said this at the meeting with his French counterpart Stéphane Séjourné on February 9 in Paris.

    “Issues related to the security situation in the South Caucasus were thoroughly discussed. Armenia’s Foreign Affairs Minister presented the country’s vision regarding the establishment of stability and peace in the region. Ararat Mirzoyan emphasized the key principles in the process of settlement of Armenia-Azerbaijan relations, particularly the importance of respect toward territorial integrity and inseparability of borders, sovereignty, as well as the need to ensure greater certainty in order to implement the further demarcation process on the basis of the Alma-Ata Declaration and the most recent and legitimate maps of the USSR,” the news release reads.

    The Jewish settler movement competes for a large part of the Armenian quarter

    India – Feb 9 2024

    The Armenian Quarter in the Old City of Jerusalem is facing its biggest crisis in recent times. A Jewish businessman linked to the radical settler movement is ready to develop a quarter of the neighborhood’s territory with plans to build a luxury hotel. If it goes ahead, it will significantly change part of Jerusalem’s Old City and accelerate the demographic shift toward the Jewish population of the city that has been happening for several years.

    The Armenian Quarter actually makes up one-sixth of the Old City (the other quarters are Muslim, Christian and Jewish), and the Armenian presence in Jerusalem dates back to the 4th century. Together with the neighboring Christian quarter, it is the stronghold of the small Christian minority in the city. The threat of Jewish settlers taking over parts of the Quarter is widely understood as a change in the demographic status quo in favor of Israel’s interests.

    In 2021, the Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem, Nourhan Manougian, agreed with the developers on a 98-year lease for part of the Armenian Quarter. The agreement covers a significant area that today includes a parking lot, buildings belonging to the office of the Armenian church leader – known as the Patriarchate – and the homes of five Armenian families.

    News of the deal sparked strong protests among Armenians in the neighborhood last year. Feelings ran so deep that in October the patriarch and other church leaders felt compelled to renege on the agreement. This led to violent clashes between settlers and local Armenians.

    After a few weeks of calm, fighting broke out again in late December, when more than 30 men armed with stones and sticks allegedly attacked Armenians who had been guarding the area for several weeks.

    The dispute has now gone to court. The question is whether the lease is valid or whether unilateral termination renders the contract null and void. The Patriarchate has engaged lawyers – local and from Armenia and the US – who will present their case that the contract was not properly concluded due to irregularities in the contract.

    This is not a single incident. Since the Six-Day War of 1967, when all of Jerusalem came under Israeli control, there has been a concerted effort to change the demographics of traditionally Arab East Jerusalem.

    In many places, the authorities are evicting Arab families who have lived there for decades on the grounds that they do not have the documents to own the house. Then a Jewish family immigrates.

    This change in the demography of East Jerusalem occurs through emigration, demolition and construction restrictions. This is also happening in the famous and touristic Old City of Jerusalem.

    Almost 20 years ago, there was a minor scandal when it emerged that the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate, the owner of a large property, had entered into a long-term lease for two historic hotels with an organization of Jewish settlers.

    Disputed territory: In most plans for a two-state solution, East Jerusalem would be the capital of a Palestinian state.
    United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)CC BY-ND

    Now we have a similar incident regarding the Armenian Patriarchate. Palestinians, who have long fought against illegal Jewish settlements in the Palestinian territories, view the sale or long-term lease of real estate to Jewish settlers extremely negatively.

    East Jerusalem is vital to the Palestinians. Proposed plans for a two-state solution call for the capital of a future Palestinian state. A decisive change in the demography there is therefore a priority goal of some in Israel – including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who does not want a two-state solution.

    Read more: Explained: What is the solution to the two-state conflict between Israel and Palestine?

    This conflict also highlights an old problem of the Jerusalem Christian churches – namely, the gulf between the leadership and the people. The old churches are hierarchical in nature and the leaders rule at the top. In Jerusalem, there is an additional problem in that church leaders are not always from the local population.

    The largest Christian denomination in the Holy Land is the Greek Orthodox Church. Its members are mostly Arabs, while the patriarch and other leading prelates are Greeks.

    Nourhan Manougian, the current and 97th Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem, was born in Syria to an Armenian family. The Armenian Patriarchate has been accused of corruption and illegitimate sale of assets in the past, long before the current crisis.

    If the Armenians lose this battle and the settler movement is able to take control of such a key city, it will hurt a vulnerable small minority. The settler campaign to colonize East Jerusalem under Jewish control will achieve another victory.

    Ambassador Harutyunyan discusses issues of bilateral interest with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Galuzin

     20:15, 8 February 2024

    YEREVAN, FEBRUARY 8, ARMENPRESS.  Armenian Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Russian Federation Vagharshak Harutyunyan  on Thursday met with the Russia Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Mikhail Galuzin.

    During the meeting, issues related to the permission for citizens of the Republic of Armenia to drive vehicles with Armenian driving licenses while conducting business activities in the territory of the Russian Federation were discussed. 

    The interlocutors also exchanged ideas on other topics of mutual interest on the agenda.

    USAID provides $1,000,000 in additional assistance to forcibly displaced persons of Nagorno-Karabakh


    YEREVAN, JANUARY 31, ARMENPRESS. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is providing $1,000,000 in additional assistance to the forcibly displaced persons of Nagorno-Karabakh.

    19,300 forcibly displaced persons of Nagorno-Karabakh will receive humanitarian assistance through the USAID-funded Protection, Inclusion, and Empowerment activity implemented by Democracy International.

    Since the end of September 2023, the USAID provided over $9,2 million in humanitarian assistance for those affected by the hostilities in Nagorno-Karabakh.

    Photos by Hayk Harutyunyan

    Direct contacts between Armenia and Azerbaijan more or less active, says Pashinyan


    YEREVAN, JANUARY 20, ARMENPRESS. Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan addressing the session of the initiative group of his Civil Contract party and presenting details of the Armenia-Azerbaijan peace process, stated that there had been various episodes in mediated and direct contacts during that period.
    “As a matter of fact, direct contacts between Armenia and Azerbaijan are now more or less active.
    Basically, there are working channels to work, particularly between my office and the office of the President of Azerbaijan.
    Through those channels a joint statement was accepted on December 7, resulting in the return of 32 prisoners from Azerbaijan to Armenia,'' said Pashinyan.

    According to the Prime Minister, Armenia and Azerbaijan are working on the text of the peace treaty and sending it to each other sequentially.

    For Irvine’s Great Park, an Armenian genocide memorial is in the works

    Jan 11 2024

    Irvine is getting closer to erecting a memorial dedicated to the victims of the Armenian genocide within the Great Park.

    Early plans for the memorial, approved by the Great Park Board on Tuesday, Jan. 9, include a potential location, the size of the memorial and how the memorial will be funded. City leaders unanimously approved the Orange County Armenian Genocide Memorial Committee’s proposal and directed staff to work with the committee in developing a schematic design and budget.

    The proposed location is what will be called the Heart of the Park, a yet-to-be-completed area of the Great Park in its expansion over 300 acres of amenities. Because it is surrounded by a dense forest, the location will provide privacy and peace, said assistant city manager Pete Carmichael.

    And the size of the memorial will be consistent and commensurate with the vertical and horizontal area provided within the surrounding forest, approximately 20 feet wide and 15 feet high, said Lauren Jung, the city’s senior management analyst.

    The Orange County Armenian Genocide Memorial Committee, comprised of 11 members representing various Armenian organizations from around the county, hopes for construction to begin in the first half of 2026 and be completed in 2027, according to a staff report.

    The Heart of the Park, where the memorial will be located, is slated for initial grading beginning this year with subsequent construction starting in 2026. That area “is a mix of quiet contemplation and social interaction,” Carmichael said.

    The committee is in the process of incorporating as a nonprofit in California and requesting nonprofit status with the IRS to fundraise for the cost of the memorial’s design and construction, said chairperson Kev Abazajian.

    Per city rules regarding monuments and memorials, the project proponent must foot the bill for the project while the city is responsible for the daily maintenance and upkeep of the memorial.

    Abazajian said he anticipates the state designation to be made within the month while the 501(c)(3) designation may take a couple more months.

    The process of homing an Armenian genocide memorial in Irvine began in 2022 after a video surfaced in which Mayor Farrah Khan appeared to joke and laugh with representatives of local Turkish groups, among them a man who has been outspoken in denying the genocide.

    Khan, at the time, said the genocide was not a topic of conversation and the video was released out of context. Members of the Armenian community met with Khan, and she said she would support finding a place in the city for a memorial.

    “Irvine is home to people from all over the world, including many like Armenians, who have faced a devastating genocide. We currently have Armenian community members whose family members are facing forced displacement in Armenia, Azerbaijan and in Jerusalem,” Khan said. “This is one of the ways that we, as a city, can provide a safe space for people to reflect on the past and strive to do better in the future.”

    An estimated 1.2 million Armenians died during the genocide that began in 1915 in the Ottoman Empire, widely considered to be the first genocide of the 20th century, according to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. While most historians — and the White House — agree the deaths that occurred constitute a “genocide,” the Turkish government has denied a genocide occurred, contesting the estimated death toll.

    In February 2023, city leaders directed staff to work toward the dedication of a memorial within the Great Park to the Armenians who died, according to the staff report, and in September, the Great Park Board adopted a policy dictating how the city considers requests for monuments and memorials within the park.

    “Out of something horrific and divisive, something beautiful can come out of it,” said Garo Madenlian, a member of the Orange County Armenian Center.

    Madenlian said the city moving forward with a plan for the memorial means a lot to the Armenian community in Orange County since many are descendants of genocide survivors.

    “My grandparents were orphaned in the Armenian genocide,” he said. “This is really important for us to remember and never forget.”

    The committee has planned for April a small commemoration of the start of the Armenian genocide, April 1915, which may take place at the project site.

    “We are excited to move something like this forward of this gravity,” said Councilmember Mike Carroll, who also chairs the Great Park Board.

    Staff is set to return in March with the schematic design and budget, Jung said.