On March 30, 2021, the 9th Ministerial Conference was held in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, within the framework of “The Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process.” Azerbaijan was represented by Foreign Minister Ceyhun Bayramov at this conference attended by diplomatic delegations from many countries. At the conference, Bayramov met with his Pakistani counterpart, Shah Mahmood Qureshi and the parties discussed various cooperation opportunities between Azerbaijan and Pakistan, including the issue of bilateral cooperation in the field of aviation.
It is also known that the parties met and exchanged views in Pakistan on January 13, 2021, after the Second Nagorno-Karabakh War. In this meeting, various cooperation issues including security, trade, science and culture were evaluated. In fact, the Islamabad Declaration, which includes these issues, was accepted at the same meeting.
Azerbaijan declared its independence after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Pakistan became the second country recognizing Azerbaijan as an independent state on December 12, 1991 following Turkey. In the relations that started to develop since June 9, 1992, Pakistan stood by Azerbaijan in many issues, including the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. In addition to not recognizing Armenia as a state, the Islamabad administration, which condemns the genocide in Khojaly, criticizes Yerevan harshly at every opportunity for its actions.
After Heydar Aliyev came to power in 1993, the Baku administration focused on activities to the creation of modern armed forces that could ensure the military security of the country. In this context, in addition to internal reforms, serious steps have been taken towards establishing military cooperation with other countries. Thus, another actor that Azerbaijan has come close to has been Pakistan. Islamabad has also clearly shown that it stands by Baku. In this regard, Farooq Leghari became the first Pakistani President to visit Azerbaijan in 1995.
According to the military doctrine of Azerbaijan, the Baku administration establishes military-technical relations with other states to purchase new technologies and create modern industrial sectors as well as developing existing relations. The legal basis of military cooperation between the two countries is the agreement of Cooperation in Military and Defence Fields signed in the city of Karachi in September 2002.
Since that date, the relations between the parties have turned into a cooperation based on mutual trust. In this regard, the visit of the Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf to Azerbaijan in early July 2004 is memorable. President of Pakistan has also been warmly welcomed not only by the top executives of Azerbaijan but also by parliamentarians and journalists in Baku.
The friendly approach of Pakistan, which is the only Muslim country in the world with the nuclear military potential, towards Azerbaijan pleases Baku. In fact, both Azerbaijani deputies and the Azerbaijani people welcomed the visit of the President of Pakistan to the National Assembly of Azerbaijan. While he was in Baku, Musharraf stated that the parties had a common interest in the field of defense and offered cooperation. Musharraf also made it clear that they were ready to accept a delegation from the Ministry of Defense of Azerbaijan to their courses for training purposes.
Holding talks in Azerbaijan one month later, Pakistan Chief of the General Staff Aziz Khan clearly demonstrated the will of the parties to develop military cooperation. The fact that Pakistan Defense Minister Syed Ather Ali met with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev during his visit to Baku in 2010 and expressed their intention to strengthen defense and military relations played a major role in the strengthening of these relations.
After these developments, more than 30 countries, including Azerbaijan, participated in the naval exercise “AMAN-2013” organized by Pakistan in March 2013. Following this, in the fifth meeting of the Military Cooperation Working Group in February 2014, Pakistan and Azerbaijan signed a Bilateral Military Cooperation Agreement. The same document was updated during the Working Group Meetings in Baku and Islamabad in 2015 and 2016.
Receiving the Former Federal Minister for Defence Production of Pakistan, Rana Tanveer Hussain in September 2016, Aliyev expressed his belief that the cooperation between the two countries in the field of defense and military industry will continue to develop successfully. At the same time, Aliyev underlined that Azerbaijan supports Pakistan on the Kashmir issue. During the official visit of Former Pakistani Prime Minister Nevaz Sharif to Azerbaijan in October 2016, it was announced that military exercises would be held between the two countries. Later, Azerbaijan expressed its interest in importing JF-17 from Pakistan. JF-17 is a joint initiative between Pakistan and China. The fact that Baku expressed its interest in JF-17 shows that Azerbaijan wants to develop military cooperation with Pakistan.
According to the information above, military cooperation between Baku and Islamabad is developing day by day. Moreover, in addition to bilateral relations, the issue of tripartite military exercises has been on the agenda in recent years as Pakistan states its desire to participate in “TurAz Military Exercises” held between Azerbaijan and Turkey. This brings the idea that these exercises will turn into a tripartite military cooperation in the future. The participation of Pakistani military personnel as observers in the “Caucasian Eagle-2019 Military Exercise” held on September 19, 2019, and the fact that Pakistan would unconditionally support Azerbaijan during the Second Nagorno-Karabakh War in 2020 has a great role in this.
To conclude, Azerbaijan, attaching great importance to improving its defense capability, tried to deepen its relations with Pakistan. Pakistan has managed to build a very strong army thanks to the modernization of the defense industry and cooperation with foreign countries. It is also possible to obtain Pakistani weapons and military equipment at low prices. Moreover, the existence of nuclear weapons gives Islamabad a special status in Asia. That is why Baku perceives Islamabad as a reliable partner for military cooperation. Pakistan, wanting to attract foreign investment to its country, is also pleased with this situation. In other words, Islamabad considers Baku as an extremely reliable partner. Therefore, the development of military cooperation between the parties is in the interests of both countries. It can be suggested that the cooperation between the two states that see each other as brothers will continue to increase.
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