Through aggressive and assertive foreign policy, India is gaining elevated stake in the newly shaping global order. Under Foreign Minister Jaishankar, India has moved past the yesteryear policy of restraint that constantly kept us on the defensive side. Now, India is imposing heavy price on nations that are constantly indulging in anti-India acts. The strategic encirclement of Turkey is the prime example of this rightful change of stance in Indian foreign policy.
Indian military equipment strengthening Turkey’s ‘unfriendly’ neighbourhood
For a very long time, Turkey escaped accountability for constantly spewing venom against India and carrying out anti-India acts. But in the past few years, India is aggressively strengthening strategic as well as defence ties with Armenia, Greece, Cyprus, Egypt and Syria. Due to Erdogan’s neo-Ottomanism, these neighbouring nations have continuously suffered Ankara’s hostilities.
Egypt has been facing hostilities from Turkey. So, in a bid to counter Turkish influence, India offered Egypt to host production facilities for the manufacturing of world’s lightest supersonic fighter jet LCA Tejas and helicopters. With that, the Egyptian Air Force would receive 70 light combat fighter jets with local production and technology transfer.
Similarly, facing an existential crisis on account of the Turkish threat, Cyprus recently signed a memorandum of agreement on defence cooperation with India.
Additionally, India has ramped up defence cooperation with Armenia by actively fulfilling its defence requirements. In 2022, India struck a Rs 2000 crore ($250 million) deal to get our first-ever export of the Indian-made Pinaka multiple-launch rocket system (MLRS). The export order included the four batteries of the Pinaka MLRS, anti-tank rockets and a host of other ammunition.
Also read: Turkey trembles as India gives men and muscles to Cyprus
Armenia needs India’s help to equip and train its Air force
Now, Armenia has shown keen interest in having Indian expertise to upgrade its Su-30SM fleet. As per media reports, Armenia may procure air-launched version of BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles and Astra Beyond-visual-range air-to-air missiles (BRAAM) to increase the lethality of its Su-30SM fleet.
Around 12 nations operate Sukhoi fighter jets but Indian Air forces have a technical superiority in operating these fourth-generation fighter jets. India has around 272 Su-30MKI, thus making it the backbone of the Indian Air force. These Su-30MKI jets are fitted with Astra and Brahmos missiles, sensors, and avionics from all over the world that sets it apart from the Sukhoi jets of other countries.
Furthermore, Armenia bought Russian made Su-30SM that are based on Su-30MKIs. Thus, Indian fighter pilots giving training to Armenian counterparts will drastically improve Armenia’s air force capabilities. It badly needs it as it was thoroughly exposed the last time the nation faced the brunt of war. On account of CSTO, it pinned its hopes on Russian brokered peace or intervention to save it. But due to geopolitical overhauling and Russian compulsions, Armenia realised the need for India’s support to safeguard its sovereignty.
In 2020, Armenia had four Su-30SM jets but they lacked essential weapons, particularly the guided air-to-surface missiles. Christian majority nation, Armenia, was forced to keep these jets grounded during the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Without guided missiles like the ones Indian Sukhois have, involving Su-30SM fighters would have led to irrecoverable losses with little to no visible gains in the war.
Currently, there is a high possibility of resumption of war between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute. Additionally, Azerbaijan has forged a nexus with Turkey and Pakistan. In fact, the trio conducted the “Three Brothers” military exercise in 2021. Henceforth, Armenia has to rely on Indian expertise to neutralise this Islamic nexus.
Earlier, Armenia had also imported defence equipment from India. In 2020, Armenia concluded a defence deal worth $43 million to buy four Indian-made Swathi weapon-locating radars.
Also read: 2000 Crores Defence Deal with Armenia: A Nightmare for Turkey and a Jackpot for India
Apart from defence exports, India has given a clear message to the Islamic nexus of Azerbaijan, Turkey and Pakistan. India has overtly stated that it has taken a side in the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute. On one hand, to counter Turkey, India has supported Armenia. While on the other hand India has maintained a “principled position” by appealing to the aggressor, that is, Azerbaijan to end violence.
The news of Indian fighter pilots and possible export of lethal missiles has badly rattled Azerbaijan and its allies. In an interview, President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev arrogantly stated that India’s supply of weapons to Armenia is ‘an unfriendly step’. He further claimed that Indian weaponry won’t save Armenia in case of war.
With these moves, India is aggressively creating several pincer movements to corner Turkey in its backyard. Any nation challenging Indian sovereignty by any means will have to face the wrath of assertive India and will face the brink of collapse.
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