ARMENIA INCREASES DEFENSE AND MILITARY POTENTIAL

dcc55211bd2743798401f350651dbc86_XL.jpgOn the 28-th of January Armenia has celebrated the professional holiday of all its soldiers – Army Day. This date has appeared in national holiday’s calendar in 2001. For independent Armenia and its military forces the 28-th of January has become the starting point in 1992 when national government made a historic decision concerning “Defense of Armenian Republic”. The Minister of Defense of Armenia, Mr. Seyran Oganyan, told us about key goals of Armenian army and the ways his ministry achieves them.

-     Mr. Oganyan, almost a quarter of a century have passed since the moment when national army of Armenia was established. What priorities of defense architecture are being implemented today in Republic? How do they reflect on the goals and structure of nowadays Armenian army?

– On the 28-th of January we have celebrated the 24-th anniversary of our national military forces establishment. There is no doubt that possibility to obtain own national military forces, army, is a result of a very hard work made by the government during all these years. Constant modernization of military forces of Armenia is one of the key elements of defense architecture and the only possibility to face effectively the existing challenges of modern world. In the very nearest future we plan to optimize our work. We pay a very important attention to innovative technology solutions which will be used in order to support existing human resources and in some cases even to replace them.

We plan our development based on risks and challenges analysis on the one hand and real economic potential of our state on the other hand.   

As a result of full scale reforms in military field we will be able not only to achieve effectively different kinds of military tasks but also help civilians in emergency cases related to these military tasks achievement.

– Armenia took presidency in Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) at a very unstable situation in the region period of time. Which priorities of your presidency are aimed at elimination of existing threats in the area of collective responsibility? 

– Armenia took presidency in CSTO at a complicated moment when terrorist threat increased in a number of times in the region and now it is a great challenge not only for our key organization ally but for all global community. It is a challenge for security of states and even whole regions. 

Under these circumstances, our leading tasks concern further development of system of control of collective military forces of CSTO, including Collective Rapid Deployment Forces (CRDF) and united regional forces along with increasing of the level of operational efficiency and fast decision implantation, which can be achieved also by realization of collective mimic warfare like the upcoming “Kobalt-2016” trainings in Armenia.

We also pay important attention to issues related to security of logistic infrastructure of CSTO by implementing the Treaty of unified system of technical security of railways signed in 2003 and by military cargo transit procedure optimization. We hope that with the active help of our partners in CSTO we will be able to achieve above mentioned goals and some other tasks during our presidency in organization including coordination of our foreign affairs position.

– Right after traitor attack on Russian military jet made by Turkish Air forces In Syria, Armenia was the first of other Russian allies in CSTO to completely support Russian position in this conflict…    

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– Coping with Russian Federation, our military and political government focuses on the fact of long lasting friendship and brotherhood based on moral connection of our peoples which only tightened with time. Speaking of our support in the incident with Russian jet, it is not important who was the first or second to support our ally, it is important that all members of CSTO supported this position unanimously which is another evidence of unity within our organization. In this context we see further cooperation and development of unified international position related to regional and global security issues as one of the most important part of our work.

Our actions should be based on our responsibilities as allies, with respect to our partners’ opinion and unified position against all possible initiatives confronting interests of one or several of our partners in CSTO

– Last year the “imperishable brotherhood” military training operation of CSTO peacekeeping forces took place in Armenia for the first time in its history. What are the reasons for a rising role of peacekeeping operations today?

–  The effectiveness of peacekeeping mechanism is on a very high level today and its necessity backed by a complicated international situation in different regions of the world especially in neighboring areas of CSTO activity.  The list of threats is wide. Starting from the return to the homeland of people who received certain experience in terrorist activities abroad to illegal expansion of extremists and propaganda materials, arms and munitions. Armenia always support peacekeeping initiatives and see them as an important tool to lower tensions in international relations and resolve conflicts. That is why one of our key priorities during presidency in CSTO for 2016 is further development of peacekeeping component of the organization. There is no doubt that all trainings organized from the moment of united CSTO peacekeeping forces establishment enforced the effectiveness of this activity. Yet, there is still a lot of work to be done in order to develop its structure and combination, generate training system of peacekeeping contingents. It is time to create a base organization for CSTO peacekeepers’ training and to establish better cooperation with UN in this field. We are ready to share our experience received during 12 years of active peacekeeping activity in different spots of our region.        

–  In January, a Russian-Armenian commission for military-technical cooperation worked together in Armenia. What projects are being implemented today within this two-sided cooperation?

–  On the 20-th of January, the 10-th jubilee session of Armenia-Russian intergovernmental commission for military-technical cooperation took place in Erevan. During this session a wide range of issues was discussed. The majority of these issues concerned the program of development of Armenian arm forces till 2020.

First of all, we discussed the procurement and modernization of Armenian army. Russian role in providing Armenian army with modern and compatible weapons, military and special vehicles help to support balance in the region. Majority of questions which were discussed during the session concerned production cooperation aimed at increasing the number of joint manufactures and service centers in the field of development, operation, repair and modernization of the military hardware. Taking into consideration the fact that overwhelming majority of Armenian weapon comes from Russia we are deeply interested in emerging and increasing of number of these centers. Finally, I cannot help myself but mention that in 2014 the mutually signed Agreement of military-technical cooperation development came into force. I would like to stress that this agreement provided wide range of perspectives for Armenian security maintenance which brings us more advantages than one time weapon shipments from Russia.     

– The special role in the system of collective security of Caucasus region today plays the 102 Russian military base in Armenia. How do you estimate the effectiveness of Russian presence in the region and would you like to increase the cooperation rate?

– The presence of Russian military base on Armenia soil is a vivid example supporting the idea of mutual and long lasting strategic ally relations between our countries. The role of Russian presence for security maintenance in the region is hard to be overestimated. It is important to say that this base is completely integrated into Armenia-Russian joint forces system established in the Republic. We create joint operational plans in order to provide collective security and our antiaircraft defense units work together protecting our air boundaries.    

Armenian and Russian troops take part in military trainings of two-sided and international formats held in Armenia annually. There are also several ideas of how to enlarge our cooperation. On the 23-rd of December 2015 in Moscow, Minister of Defense of Russia Mr. Shoygu and I signed intergovernmental treaty of United Antiaircraft System establishment in Caucasus region of collective security. I am rest assured that majority of provisions of the Treaty will be practically implemented in 2016.

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