Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan Resolve Border Dispute

President Sadyr Zhaparov of the Kyrgyz Republic and President Emomali Rahmon of Tajikistan forged a bi-lateral agreement regarding shared disputed borders, outside the CSTO framework.


“Chairman of the State Committee for National Security Kamchybek Tashiev said that more than 90% of the Kyrgyz-Tajik border has been agreed upon. He made this statement on December 12 after a meeting with his Tajik counterpart Saimumin Yatimov.”


The accompanying excerpted article from the independent news website Kloop reports that Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan recently reached a bilateral agreement to demarcate most of their shared border separate from efforts by Russia and the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) to resolve the border dispute. The CSTO is a political-military organization made up of former Soviet republics, including Russia, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan that works to provide security in the Eurasia region. The Kyrgyzstan-Tajikistan dispute stems from borders that were not demarcated when the two countries became independent. The lack of clear boundaries has been a source of contention and became particularly acute after a series of clashes took place in 2022.[i] The largest and deadliest clash took place in September 2022 and threatened to undermine cooperation within the CSTO as it marked the first time relations between two member states resulted in open armed conflict.[ii] According to the Kloop article, the heads of the National Security Committees of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan met in December and agreed to demarcate a large section of their border. The agreement includes demarcating some of the more controversial sections of the border near the location of previous clashes. The article also notes that the agreement is not finalized, but it will likely fulfill the promise by Kyrgyzstan’s President Sadyr Japarov to resolve the border issue by the spring of 2024. It remains to be seen whether this agreement will prevent any future border clashes from taking place or if they do, whether Russia or the CSTO will get involved. While the fact that neither Russia nor the CSTO were involved in the mediations is noteworthy given the regional role of Russia and the fact that the CSTO, the development is not necessarily a sign of waning Russian interest. Russia has offered to mediate following border clashes between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan over the years, but nothing came of it. Also, the CSTO claims it is ready and capable of providing security in the region but could not prevent two of its member states from clashing. Instead, the agreement between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan reflects the fact that governments in the region have taken more initiative[iii]  in regard to their own security affairs, rather than looking to outside partners.


Sources:

“Ташиев и Ятимов сообщили о согласовании более 90% кыргызско-таджикской границы (Tashiyev and Yatimov reported on the agreement of more than 90 percent of the Kyrgyz-Tajik border),” Kloop (independent Russian-language news website in Kyrgyzstan), 13 December 2023.

Chairman of the State Committee for National Security Kamchybek Tashiev said that more than 90% of the Kyrgyz-Tajik border has been agreed upon. He made this statement on December 12 after a meeting with his Tajik counterpart Saimumin Yatimov.

Tashiev and Yatimov are the chairmen of the government delegations of the Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan on the delimitation and demarcation of the Kyrgyz-Tajik border…

According to him, the sections starting from Kayragach, Kulundu, Maksat, Arki-1, Arki-2, Zhany-zher and up to Zhiydelik have been fully agreed upon. Sections from Kara-Bak, Lakko to the “junction of the point of three states” have also been agreed upon.

“That is, at the moment we have almost completed all controversial issues [on the border]. There are only a few meetings left to finally finalize the issue with the state border,” concluded the head of the State Committee for National Security…

Earlier, President Sadyr Japarov promised that the issue of the Kyrgyz-Tajik border would be resolved before the spring of 2024.

The total length of the Kyrgyz-Tajik border is 972 kilometers. As of 2022, a total of 664 kilometers of border have been agreed upon…

Due to undefined borders, conflicts periodically arise in the territories adjacent to Tajikistan in the Batken and Osh regions…

The last large-scale conflict occurred on September 14-17, 2022. Fights and clashes took place along the entire perimeter of the state border. As a result of the conflict, 63 Kyrgyzstanis were killed and another 206 people were injured. The Tajik authorities noted that 41 people were killed and more than 20 people were injured in that conflict…


Notes:

[i] For background on Russian efforts following the September 2022 clashes, see (in Russian): Mirayim Almas, “«Богатый опыт»: Россия готова помочь Кыргызстану и Таджикистану в решении пограничных споров (‘Rich experience’: Russia is ready to help Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan in resolving the border disputes),” Kloop, 15 September 2022. https://kloop.kg/blog/2022/09/15/bogatyj-opyt-rossiya-gotova-pomoch-kyrgyzstanu-i-tadzhikistanu-v-reshenii-pogranichnyh-sporov/

[ii] Kyrgyzstan cancelled a CSTO exercise set to take place in October 2022 following the border clash with Tajikistan. See: Matthew Stein “Members Of Collective Security Treaty Organization Show Less Support For Russia-Led Body,” OE Watch, 11-2022. https://fmso.tradoc.army.mil/2022/members-of-collective-security-treaty-organization-show-less-support-for-russia-led-body/

[iii] For more on Central Asian states cooperating on security issues, see: Matthew Stein “Central Asian States Take the Initiative in Security Cooperation,” OE Watch, 01-2022. https://fmso.tradoc.army.mil/2022/central-asian-states-take-the-initiative-in-security-cooperation/


Image Information:

Image: President Sadyr Zhaparov of the Kyrgyz Republic and President Emomali Rahmon of Tajikistan forged a bi-lateral agreement regarding shared disputed borders, outside the CSTO framework.
Sources: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Official_Photo_of_the_President_of_the_Kyrgyz_Republic_H.E._Mr._Sadyr_Zhaparov.jpg and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/President_of_Tajikistan – /media/File:2021_Moscow_Victory_Day_Parade_037_(cropped).jpg
Attribution: Modified (combined photos) as per rights granted: CC BY SA 4.0


India Looking to Alternative Arms Suppliers Because of Delays From Russia

The next generation M4 rifle from Swiss Arms, the Sig Sauer SG 516 is a newborn assault rifle manufactured by the SIGARMS GmbH, Switzerland. The rifle is based on an American-made Colt Defense M4 Carbine but combined with gas piston/op-rod system, based on the SIG 550 series system.


“This deficit surfaced visibly in the inability of the Indo-Russian Rifles Private Limited (IRRPL) joint venture (JV), instituted in late 2021, to deliver the first batch of around 5,000 AK-203 7.62x39mm rifles to the Indian Army, by March 2024.”


Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the impact on the Russian defense industry’s deliveries of weapons and equipment to numerous countries, including India, is well documented.[i] The accompanying excerpted article from the independent news website The Wire reports on a Russian-Indian joint venture failing to meet an early 2024 delivery deadline of a batch of assault rifles for India’s Armed Forces. While this marked a small item that Russia has failed to deliver to India compared to the larger systems that have been delayed, the article notes that India has already found an alternative. The article reports that the Indian Army recently acquired 73,000 SIG Sauer rifles from the United States, similar to a purchase of SIG Sauer rifles a few years ago to meet a short notice operational requirement.[ii] The article notes delays of a few other Russian systems, including two S-400 [R1] surface-to-air missile systems and two guided missile frigates. India is not likely to quickly find alternatives to the S-400s or frigates, considering the cost and delivery timeline for these types of systems. However, India’s purchase of SIG Sauer rifles shows that it is willing to look for alternative partners whenever possible.


Sources:

Rahul Bedi, “Russian Rifle Delays Raise Concerns Over Deliveries from Moscow, The Wire (an independent English-language news website), 15 December 2023. https://thewire.in/security/indias-assault-rifle-induction-woes-continue-with-delays-in-indigenous-ak-203-production

Delays in the indigenous licensed manufacture of Russian Kalashnikov AK-203 [R1] assault rifles at a dedicated facility in Korwa near Amethi in Uttar Pradesh, has further raised concerns in domestic military circles over Moscow’s ability to deliver assorted contracted-for platforms and other materiel to India on time, or if at all.

Despite the sanguinity expressed periodically by Russian officials and diplomats to their Indian counterparts – over the fact that their military-industrial complex remained robust and was ‘on stream’ to vindicate its equipment delivery schedules, US-led sanctions on Moscow for invading Ukraine have, in reality severely jeopardised its capacities in this regard.

This deficit surfaced visibly in the inability of the Indo-Russian Rifles Private Limited (IRRPL) joint venture (JV), instituted in late 2021, to deliver the first batch of around 5,000 AK-203 7.62x39mm rifles to the Indian Army, by March 2024. Instead, at the Indian Army’s prompting, the Ministry of Defence recently approved the add-on import of around 73,000 ‘Patrol’ Sig Sauer assault rifles from the US…

No official statement on this postponement in supplying the AK-203s to the Indian Army units has been forthcoming, from either IRRPL, the Indian Army or the Ministry of Defence. But industry sources said that the economic and technological sanctions on Russia, were together responsible for deferrals in even an industrially low-end project entailing the licensed manufacture of assault rifles. The IRRPL was formed, amidst much fanfare, to manufacture some 750,000 AK-203 rifles…

Russia’s defence industrial complex seems to concur, as it recently conceded its inability in continuing to deliver military kit to its many clients, including India, as it needed to prioritise ‘manufacturing and supplying products to the Russian Army’…

Meanwhile, apart from the deferred AK-203 project, India has three other major Russian platforms on order, all of which were plagued by delays, and possibly an ambiguous future.

These included the delivery of two of five Almaz-Antey S-400 Triumf self-propelled surface-to-air missile systems, acquired for the Indian Air Force (IAF) in a deal signed in October 2018 for $5.5 billion, constructing two Project 1135.6M Admiral Grigorovich guided missile frigates worth an estimated $950 million at Russia’s Yantar Shipyard at Kaliningrad…Between 2021 and March 2023 Russia had delivered three S-400 systems, and Rosonboronexport’s Mikheyev had recently told the country’s state-owned news agency TASS, that the remaining two air defence systems would arrive by end-2023, which has not happened…


Notes:

[i] For more information on Russian military equipment delays to India since the war in Ukraine began, see: Matthew Stein, “India Takes a Step Away from the Russian Defense Industry,” Journal of Indo-Pacific Affairs, 31 July 2023. https://www.airuniversity.af.edu/JIPA/Display/Article/3475660/india-takes-a-step-away-from-the-russian-defense-industry/

[ii] See: Matthew Stein, “Bypassing the “Make in India” Initiative,” OE Watch, May 2020. https://community.apan.org/cfs-file/__key/telligent-evolution-components-attachments/13-21393-00-00-00-35-96-47/2020_2D00_05_2D00_01-Bypassing-the-_1C20_Make-in-India_1D20_-Initiative-_2800_Stein_2900_.pdf?forcedownload=true


Image Information:

Image: The next generation M4 rifle from Swiss Arms, the Sig Sauer SG 516 is a newborn assault rifle manufactured by the SIGARMS GmbH, Switzerland. The rifle is based on an American-made Colt Defense M4 Carbine but combined with gas piston/op-rod system, based on the SIG 550 series system.
Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:SIG_SG_516_14.5%E2%80%B3.jpg
Attribution: CCA 3.0


Azerbaijan’s Joint Exercise With Turkey Sends Familiar Warning Message to Armenia

Turkish Armed Forces at the Victory Parade 2020 in Baku


“The exercises are still another warning to Armenia to refrain from any border provocations and cool the attitude of those who harbor ideas and goals of revenge.”


Azerbaijan has carried out several joint military exercises with Turkey in recent years as part of their security cooperation partnership. Past exercises with Turkey have often sought to prepare Azerbaijani forces for a potential conflict with Armenian-backed separatists in Nagorno-Karabakh and gain experience from Turkey’s Armed Forces.[i] The accompanying excerpted article from the independent Caucasus-based news website Kavkazskiy Uzel reports on a joint Azerbaijan-Turkey exercise that took place in October 2023, which has sent a familiar message to Armenia. According to an expert who previously worked in the Ministry of Defense of Azerbaijan, the recent exercise serves as a warning to Armenia. Even though Azerbaijan regained control over Nagorno-Karabakh from ethnic Armenians in an operation a month prior to the exercise taking place, the governments of Azerbaijan and Armenia have yet to reach an agreement demarcating their border, with disputes leading to several clashes along the border over the past few years. Azerbaijan’s exercise ultimately shows how it continues to develop its Armed Forces with Turkey’s help in preparation for a potential conflict with Armenia. Yet, the article mentions that the most recent exercise is different from previous ones because it involved more types of units outside of Azerbaijan’s Army, including missile and artillery, engineer, and special forces units. The exercise is also different because there are no longer Armenian troops on Azerbaijan’s territory. Given that Azerbaijan regained control of Nagorno-Karabakh it presumably no longer needs to conduct that type of scenario in an exercise.


Sources:

Faik Majid, “Аналитики в Баку оценили значение азербайджано-турецких учений (Analysts in Baku assessed the meaning of the Azerbaijsan-Turkish exercise),” Kavkazskiy Uzel (independent Caucasus-based news website), 25 October 2023. https://www.kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/393732

“Up to three thousand military personnel are taking part in the joint Azerbaijani-Turkish military exercises “Mustafa Kemal Ataturk – 2023”, which began on October 23 in Baku, Nakhichevan, as well as in the territories of Karabakh that came under the control of Azerbaijan.

The current joint Azerbaijani-Turkish military exercises differ from previous ones in that they involve almost all types of troops, military expert, former employee of the information and analytical department of the Ministry of Defense of Azerbaijan Azad Isazade told the “Caucasian Knot”…

Judging by official reports, units of the ground forces of the Azerbaijani army, a separate combined arms army stationed in the Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic, the Air Force, missile and artillery troops, engineering troops, special forces, even special forces of the Navy and representatives of the relevant types of troops of the Turkish Armed Forces are taking part in the exercises…

“Azerbaijan, after the anti-terrorist operation on September 19-20, restored its territorial integrity. There are no longer Armenian troops on its territory. However, the exercises are still another warning to Armenia to refrain from any border provocations and cool the attitude of those who harbor ideas and goals of revenge,” the military expert suggested. The algorithm of joint exercises between Azerbaijan and Turkey indicates Baku’s determination to transfer its army to the Turkish model of armed forces, says military expert, retired officer Adalat Verdiyev…One of the advantages of the Turkish army model is that small groups of special forces, commandos, even without the participation of artillery and other types of combat units, can independently successfully complete missions, going deep into rear of the enemy over long distances, or suddenly deliver crushing blows to the enemy’s forward positions,” said Verdiev…


Notes:

[i] For more information on past Azerbaijan-Turkey exercises, see: Matthew Stein “Azerbaijan’s Post-War Exercise with Turkey,” OE Watch, March 2021. https://community.apan.org/wg/tradoc-g2/fmso/m/oe-watch-articles-2-singular-format/382686


Image Information:

Image: Turkish Armed Forces at the Victory Parade 2020 in Baku
Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Turkish_Armed_Forces_at_the_Victory_Parade_2020_in_Baku_2.jpg
Attribution: CCA 4.0


Israel’s Operation in Gaza Compounding Logistical Delays for India’s Armed Forces

Indian Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the India-Israel Business Summit, in New Delhi on January 15, 2018


“Consequently, in light of the ongoing conflicts in Ukraine and now in Gaza, Russia and Israel, he warned, could well end up either failing to meet India’s numerous materiel requirements or delaying deliveries interminably.”


Two months after Russia began its invasion of Ukraine in 2022, India began to experience delays in deliveries of weapons and equipment from Russia. The Israeli operations in Gaza have only compounded the delays.[i] The accompanying excerpted article from the independent English-language news website The Wire reports on the ongoing delays of military equipment from not only Russia, but now Israel, as it carries out its Gaza operation. The article examines how two of India’s main suppliers of weapon systems and equipment, Russia and Israel, are currently engaged in conflicts. It also notes how Israel has not provided India with major platforms or systems like Russia has but provided components for various systems as well as different munitions. These components have been implemented into systems of all branches of the Indian Armed Forces making it difficult to quantify the number of Israeli systems in Indian platforms. The author of the article ends by mentioning that Russia’s and Israel’s conflicts could motivate India to pursue alternatives to continue building its defense industry. While the article does not offer specifics on how India will deal with the delays, the situation may push India to seek other partners to find short and long-term solutions to grow the country’s defense industry.


Sources:

Rahul Bedi, “Ukraine and Gaza May Impact Russia and Israel’s Ability to Sustain Materiel Exports to India,” The Wire (an independent English-language news website in India), 14 October 2023. https://thewire.in/security/ukraine-gaza-materiel-exports-to-india

The involvement of India’s two principal materiel providers – Russia and Israel – in their respective wars and conflicts has the potential to impact the inflow of defence equipment supplies into the country, warned a cross-section of service veterans and military analysts.

…This equalled a whopping 55% or so of Russian and Israeli military imports for India…

Retired Brigadier Rahul Bhonsle of the Security Risks Asia consultancy in Delhi said that while the BJP-led government had launched the atamnirbhar initiative to indigenise Indian military needs, Delhi still topped the global list of defence equipment importers.

Consequently, in light of the ongoing conflicts in Ukraine and now in Gaza, Russia and Israel, he warned, could well end up either failing to meet India’s numerous materiel requirements or delaying deliveries interminably.

Unlike Russia, Israel does not provide India any major platforms, but supplies critical and innovative force multipliers like unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), assorted missile, guidance and avionics systems, precision-guided munitions, diverse sensors and surveillance and targeting radars, amongst other equipment.

Most of this was fitted onto combat aircraft, helicopters, warships, submarines and armoured vehicles.

But such equipment and component diversity made it difficult to quantify the exact or even near-precise percentages of Israeli military equipment in service with India’s armed forces.

…(though) Israel’s ongoing war in Gaza against Hamas was ‘unlikely’ to impact military hardware and spares supplies to India in the short term, they cautioned that an extended conflict could jeopardise deliveries.

…Once diplomatic ties with Israel were instituted under Prime Minister Narasimha Rao in 1992, the two sides fast-tracked their strategic and defence relationship based on mutual security and commercial interests.

Israel, for its part, rightly perceived a commercial opportunity, while India looked upon Tel Aviv as a reliable and ‘no-questions-asked’ materiel provider, especially of varied ammunition and missile systems which India’s military badly lacked, and still does.

Nonetheless, it still took another six-odd years and the BJP’s ascent to power under Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee for Israel’s defence machinery to definitively establish itself in India…

However, it was the 11-week long Kargil war with Pakistan in 1999 that catapulted Israel’s defence industry to centre stage domestically.

As the seriousness of the deadly conflict unfolded, commercially savvy Israel dug deep into its military reserves to supply India high-end hardware, especially badly-needed 155mm rounds for its FH-77B Bofors howitzers, laser-guided munitions and other ordnance that contributed largely to the Pakistan Army vacating the mountainous region’s siege and ending hostilities.

Two decades later, the Indian Air Force’s (IAF’s) Mirage 2000H fighters in their attack on a Pakistani militant training camp at Balakot in Pakhtunkhwa in February 2019, fired specifically configured Israeli Crystal Maze Mk2 missiles (variants of the Rafael Advanced Defence Systems AGM-142 Raptor Have Nap/Popeye missile)…

…And though India had reduced its dependence on Russia for military equipment by some 33% between 2011 and 2020 in an effort to diversify its network of materiel suppliers, switching entirely to alternate sources was not an option military-planners in Delhi desired, as it entailed colossal expenditure, reworked infrastructure, inordinate delays and doctrinal changes.Perhaps the individual wars in Ukraine and Gaza and the constraints these could impose on Russia and Israel’s ability to export defence equipment may end up providing alternative routes to sustain and modernise India’s military through indigenous efforts.


Notes:

[i] For more information on India’s issues with deliveries of ordnance since the war in Ukraine began, see: Matthew Stein “India Takes a Step Away from the Russian Defense Industry,” Journal of Indo-Pacific Affairs, 31 July 2023. https://www.airuniversity.af.edu/JIPA/Display/Article/3475660/india-takes-a-step-away-from-the-russian-defense-industry/


Image Information:

Image: Indian Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the India-Israel Business Summit, in New Delhi on January 15, 2018
Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:The_Prime_Minister,Shri_Narendra_Modi_and_the_Prime_Minister_of_Israel,_Mr._Benjamin_Netanyahu_at_the_India-Israel_Business_Summit,_in_New_Delhi_on_January_15,_2018(2).jpg
Attribution: Government Open Data License – India (GODL)


Chinese-Tajikistani Security Cooperation Gaining Momentum (Matthew Stein and Peter Wood) (January 2024)

(Click image to download brief.)


Key Takeaways:

  • China and Tajikistan share a 477km border and have an estimated $1.78 billion in bilateral trade, which is significantly imbalanced in favor of China.
  • Recent years have seen a significant improvement in relations between China and Tajikistan, with China constructing a military base in 2016 near Tajikistan’s border with Afghanistan and a November 2022 bilateral agreement to increase security cooperation.
  • China’s security cooperation with Tajikistan does not appear to conflict or cause friction with Tajikistan’s main security cooperation partner, Russia, but nevertheless advances Chinese interests in the region at a time when Russian support is limited due to its invasion of Ukraine.

India Upgrades Its Artillery Systems Based On Lessons From The War In Ukraine

Dhanush howitzer during Republic Day Parade 2017


“The war also brought out the matter of increased survivability, the source said, referring to reports which suggested that Russia had lost 5,000 guns and rocket systems so far.”


India continues to draw many operational and tactical lessons from the war in Ukraine.[i] The excerpted article from The Hindu reports that India’s Branch of Artillery, an operational arm of the Army, conducted a study of the Ukraine conflict and will subsequently convert all existing towed and self-propelled artillery systems making 155mm the standard caliber. The article also notes that the Army will be looking to India’s defense industry to update these systems with a focus on buying indigenously produced munitions. Officials in India’s Ministry of Defense stated concerns about the availability of ordnance for various systems after the war in Ukraine began.[ii] Overall, this marks an example of Indian officials taking another lesson from the war in Ukraine resulting in a long-term change for the country’s armed forces.


Sources:

Dinakar Peri, “Indian Army draws lessons from Ukraine war, revises artillery requirements,” The Hindu (English-language newspaper in India), 17 September 2023. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/army-draws-lessons-from-ukraine-war-revises-its-artillery-requirements/article67315823.ece

Drawing lessons from the Ukraine war, the Indian Army has revised the profile of its Artillery regiment, with focus on a mix of mobility and augmented long-range firepower.

The Army expects to achieve its target of converting the entire artillery to medium 155 mm gun systems by 2042…

“The Regiment of Artillery has done a detailed study along with the Operations Branch. In the revised Artillery profile, Army is going for more self-propelled and mounted gun systems,” the source said…

The Army has embarked on a plan to make 155 mm the standard calibre of all artillery guns…

The war also brought out the matter of increased survivability, the source said, referring to reports which suggested that Russia had lost 5,000 guns and rocket systems so far.

There is a need for methods for force preservation as well as to adopt shoot-and-scoot techniques. “The Russia-Ukraine conflict also shows that we need to be prepared for such a prolonged war,” the source said.

…the Army inducted the M777 Ultra Light Howitzer (ULH) in November 2018. It has since inducted all 145 guns contracted. In addition, 100 K9-Vajra Self Propelled Guns have been inducted and the Defence Acquisition Council has approved procurement of 100 more.

…The Army has also placed orders for 114 Dhanush guns, indigenously upgraded based on the Bofors guns, and 300 Sharang guns, which are upgraded from 130mm guns to 155 mm…

In addition, Request for Proposals (RFPs) have been also issued for two more gun systems — 155mm/ 52 calibre Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System (ATAGS) and Mounted Gun System (MGS). The MGS has crew and ammunition onboard the vehicle and has shoot-and-scoot capabilities, officials said. The Army is looking for around 300 guns.…In addition to guns, there is a major focus on indigenisation of munitions, officials said, stating that four types of munitions were currently under trials.


Notes:

[i] The Indian Army carried out an exercise in the summer of 2022 that worked through tactical communication issues related to the war in Ukraine and earlier this year policy makers outlined several capabilities that India should develop in its armed forces after watching how Russia and Ukraine have made adjustments on the battlefield, see: Matthew Stein “Lessons For India From The War In Ukraine,” OE Watch, 05-2023. https://fmso.tradoc.army.mil/2023/lessons-for-india-from-the-war-in-ukraine/

[ii] For more information on India’s issues with deliveries of ordnance since the war in Ukraine began, see: Matthew Stein “India Takes a Step Away from the Russian Defense Industry,” Journal of Indo-Pacific Affairs, 31 July 2023. https://www.airuniversity.af.edu/JIPA/Display/Article/3475660/india-takes-a-step-away-from-the-russian-defense-industry/


Image Information:

Image: Dhanush howitzer during Republic Day Parade 2017
Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Dhanush_howitzer_during_Republic_Day_Parade_2017.jpg
Attribution: Government Open Data License – India


The Evolution Of Russia’s Peacekeeping Mission In Nagorno-Karabakh

Map of the 2023 Nagorno-Karabakh war showing Azerbaijan day-to-day advances.


“The conditions under which the Russian peacekeeping contingent was introduced into the region in 2020 have been seriously adjusted.”


On 19 September 2023, Azerbaijani forces launched an operation against the breakaway republic of Artsakh, and within days, succeeded in ending ethnic Armenian control of the Nagorno-Karabakh region. The excerpted article from the independent news website Kavkazskiy Uzel reports on how Azerbaijani control of Nagorno-Karabakh has impacted the Russian peacekeeping mission.[i] The article notes that Russian peacekeepers dismantled a few observation posts and established new ones, some of which were set up with Azerbaijan to jointly protect the weapons and equipment surrendered by the armed forces of Nagorno-Karabakh. The dismantled observation posts were situated in eastern Nagorno-Karabakh near Azerbaijan. The article also notes, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs claimed that its peacekeepers will adapt to the new situation, even as a large percentage of the population in Nagorno-Karabakh has left the region. The mandate of the Russian peacekeeping mission runs through November 2025 and will be automatically extended for another five years unless the governments of Armenia or Azerbaijan request to terminate it. The article notes that the Armenian government signed a declaration recognizing Nagorno-Karabakh as part of Azerbaijan two weeks after Azerbaijan took control of the region, essentially ending support for the breakaway republic. While one of the main tasks of the Russian peacekeeping mission has changed, it appears likely that Russia will continue to operate in the region.


Sources:

“МИД России пояснил смену постов миротворцев адаптацией к новым условиям (The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia explained the change to the posts of peacekeepers as adapting to the new conditions),” Kavkazskiy Uzel (independent news website reporting on the Caucasus), 10 October 2023. https://www.kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/393302

Peacekeepers are adapting to new conditions against the backdrop of a mass exodus of the population from the region, reported Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova.

As t“e “Caucasian K”ot” wrote, on October 5, peacekeepers reported on the dismantling of observation posts in the Askeran, Martakert and Shusha regions, and on October 8, the Russian peacekeeping contingent dismantled posts in the Martuni and Martakert regions…

A day earlier, the Russian peacekeeping contingent reported that the Russian peacekeeping contingent had set up 25 guard posts in the North (seven posts) and South (18 posts) areas of responsibility, including 14 jointly with the Azerbaijani side. Peacekeepers are taking part in the protection of warehouses with ammunition, weapons, military and special equipment surrendered by the armed forces of Nagorno-Karabakh, as stated in the bulletin dated October 9.

The activities of Russian peacekeepers in Nagorno-Karabakh will adapt to new conditions against the backdrop of a mass exodus of the population from the region, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said today…

As a result of the virtual capitulation of Stepanakert, Azerbaijan gained control over the region. On September 28, the President of Nagorno-Karabakh signed a decree ending the existence of the republic. After the military operation carried out by Azerbaijan on September 19-20, almost all residents left Nagorno-Karabakh, in which, according to various sources, about 120 thousand people lived…If the Russian peacekeeping contingent leaves Nagorno-Karabakh, it must return to Russia, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said today in an interview with the Public TV Channel when asked about the possibility of deploying peacekeepers in Armenia…On October 5, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan signed a declaration recognizing the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, including the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh…


Notes:

[i] Russian peacekeepers were deployed as part of the ceasefire agreement that ended the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh War. For background on the Russian peacekeeping mission in Nagorno-Karabakh and how Russia uses peacekeeping missions to achieve strategic objectives beyond conflict resolution, see: Matthew Stein “The Evolutionary Russian View Of Peacekeeping As Part Of Modern Warfare,” FMSO’s Foreign Perspectives Brief, 24 March 2023. https://fmso.tradoc.army.mil/2023/2023-03-24-the-evolutionary-russian-view-of-peacekeeping-as-part-of-modern-warfare-matthew-stein-update/


Image Information:

Image: Map of the 2023 Nagorno-Karabakh war showing Azerbaijan day-to-day advances.
Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:2023_Nagorno-Karabakh_War.svg
Attribution: CCA 4.0


Kazakhstan Draws on Lessons From War in Ukraine

Russian and Kazakh military to discuss security in Central Asia


“Units of special operations forces and the National Guard liberated the Kapchagai hydroelectric power station, which was captured by a mock enemy.”


Kazakhstan has always been concerned that its northern regions could be annexed by Russia.[i] As a result, Kazakhstan’s armed forces carried out an air defense exercise in February 2023 and a command-staff exercise in early September 2023 that appeared to draw on lessons from the war in Ukraine, even if it was not explicitly stated.[ii] According to the accompanying excerpted article from the Kazakhstan-based Russian-language online newspaper Informburo, the command-staff exercise, Batyl Toytarys – 2023 (Brave Resistance – 2023) involved brigade tactical groups, air support, and special forces in scenarios that included defending against a river crossing and recapturing a hydroelectric power station from an enemy force. The article notes that the exercise took place in four different regions in the country, two of which are near the Kazakhstan-Russia border. It also notes that Kazakhstan’s Navy took part in the exercise by securing facilities in the Caspian Sea. Kazakhstani officials did not release any further information on the conditional enemy for the exercise, but it appears to be working through a scenario of dealing with a conventional enemy who would target multiple regions of the country on a large scale.


Sources:

Aygerim Ummat, “Токаеву показали, как проходят военные учения ‘Батыл тойтарыс – 2023’ (Tokayev was shown how the armed forces carried out the exercise ‘Batyl toytarys – 2023’),” Informburo (Russian-language online newspaper in Kazakhstan), 5 September 2023. https://informburo.kz/novosti/tokaevu-pokazali-kak-proxodyat-voennye-uceniya-batyl-toitarys-2023

…the Head of State Kassym-Jomart Tokayev visited the strategic command and staff military exercises “Batyl Toytarys – 2023″…

Brigade tactical groups, with the support of aviation, as well as in cooperation with units of ground forces and special operations forces, worked out tactical actions to capture the designated enemy line on the opposite bank while overcoming a water barrier.

Units of special operations forces and the National Guard liberated the Kapchagai hydroelectric power station, which was captured by a mock enemy. The units of the Ministry of Emergency Situations worked to alleviate the consequences of the man-made disaster and worked out measures to provide humanitarian assistance to the population.

According to a single concept and plan, which was developed by the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Kazakhstan, a strategic regrouping of troops was carried out in the areas where the exercises will be held…the Navy, with the support of aviation and special operations forces, ensured the security of economic facilities in the Caspian Sea. The corresponding joint combat training tasks were carried out at the training grounds of Almaty, Karaganda, North Kazakhstan, and Abay regions.


Notes:

[i] For more information on Kazakhstan’s exercise and the cancelled parade, see: Matthew Stein “Kazakhstan Draws Lessons From the Russia-Ukraine War,” OE Watch 03-2023. https://community.apan.org/wg/tradoc-g2/fmso/m/oe-watch-articles-2-singular-format/437097

[ii] Kazakhstani public perceptions of Russia are trending negative. A recent public survey revealed that 30 percent of the Kazakhstani population had lost its positive perception of Russia following the invasion of Ukraine, while half of those questioned did not change their perception of Russia. Conversely, 5 percent of those surveyed had a better perception of Russia. For more detail see: “Треть казахстанцев стала хуже относиться к России после начала ее вторжения в Украину (A third of Kazakhstanis have a worse attitude toward Russia after the start of its invasion of Ukraine),” Vlast, 18 May 2023. https://vlast.kz/novosti/55152-tret-kazahstancev-stala-huze-otnositsa-k-rossii-posle-nacala-ee-vtorzenia-v-ukrainu.html


Image Information:

Image: Russian and Kazakh military to discuss security in Central Asia
Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Russian_and_Kazakh_military_to_discuss_security_in_Central_Asia.jpg
Attribution: CCA 4.0


Kyrgyzstan Acquires Turkish UAS, Showing Less Reliance on Russia

A Turkish TAI Aksungur twin-engine Unmanned Aerial Vehicle on demonstration at Teknofest 2019.


For 2.5 years, Kyrgyzstan has allocated 125 billion soms ($1.422 billion) to upgrade equipment.”


Kyrgyzstan has relied on Russian security assistance to help upgrade weapon systems and equipment for its armed forces. When the government announced in late 2021 that it had purchased two Turkish Bayraktar TB-2 unmanned aerial systems (UAS) for the country’s border guards, it marked a partial shift away from Russian systems that has continued with newer acquisitions.[i] The excerpted article from the independent news website Fergana Agency reports that Kyrgyzstan spent $1.4 billion over the past two-and-a-half years on its armed forces. The article notes that Kyrgyzstan acquired Bayraktar, Aksungur, and Akinci UAS from Turkey, as well as Pechora surface-to-air missile systems and Mi-8 and Mi-17 helicopters from Russia. It is unclear if the TB-2s are additional systems, but the Aksungur and Akinci and Russian systems are new acquisitions.[ii] The article also discusses the numerous conflicts that have taken place on the Kyrgyzstan-Tajikistan border in recent years, suggesting one possible motivation for Kyrgyzstan’s desire to upgrade its systems. According to the article, last September both Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan brought up additional forces during one clash that killed dozens, demonstrating how clashes in recent years have increased in scale. Overall, Kyrgyzstan’s military acquisitions are not a shift in the balance of power in the region, but it provides it an edge that Tajikistan does not have.


Sources:

“За 2,5 года Кыргызстан потратил на обновление вооруженной техники почти $1,5 млрд (For 2.5 years Kyrgyzstan has spent almost $1.5 billion on upgrading military equipment),” Fergana Agency (independent Russian-language news website focusing on Central Asia), 21 July 2023. https://fergana.agency/news/130812/

For 2.5 years, Kyrgyzstan has allocated 125 billion soms ($1.422 billion) to upgrade equipment. This was announced by the head of the State Committee for National Security (GKNB) Kamchybek Tashiev at a government meeting…

Tashiyev noted that in 2005-2020, Kyrgyzstan spent 3-5 billion soms ($34-56.9 million) for the same purposes. For comparison, he listed that in 2021 alone, the country’s authorities allocated 32 billion soms ($364 million) to upgrade weapons, in 2022 – 53 billion soms ($603 million), for six months of 2023 – more than 40 billion soms ($455 million).

…According to Tashiev, Bayraktar, Aksungur, Akinci drones, the Pechora anti-aircraft missile system, Mi-8, Mi-17 helicopters were purchased.

“We didn’t receive all this as a gift, all this was purchased with state budget funds,” Tashiev stressed. …in recent years there have been numerous border conflicts between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. The biggest one happened in September last year. Artillery and heavy armored vehicles were involved in the battles on both sides.


Notes:

[i] For background on Kyrgyzstan’s acquisition of Bayraktars in 2021, see: Matthew Stein “Kyrgyzstan Conducts Exercise with Its New Bayraktars,” OE Watch, 05-2022. https://community.apan.org/wg/tradoc-g2/fmso/p/oe-watch-issues

[ii] One of the deliveries of new Russian helicopters took place a few weeks before the announcement by Tashiev, see: Kseniya Timofeeva, “Кыргызстан получил новый вертолет Ми-17. От России, но за свои средства (Kyrgyzstan received a new Mi-17 helicopter. From Russia, but bought on its own),” Kaktus, 23 June 2023. https://kaktus.media/doc/482847_kyrgyzstan_polychil_novyy_vertolet_mi_17._ot_rossii_no_za_svoi_sredstva.html


Image Information:

Image: A Turkish TAI Aksungur twin-engine Unmanned Aerial Vehicle on demonstration at Teknofest 2019.
Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:TAI_Aksungur_Teknofest2019_(1).jpg
Attribution: CC BY-SA 4.0


Azerbaijan Protests India’s Delivery of Weapons to Armenia

Hikmat Hajiyev has been the Foreign Policy Advisor to the President of Azerbaijan since 2018.


“But the fact remains that today Armenia, even if it wants to, will not be able to transfer these weapons to the remnants of the so-called regime in Karabakh.”


For years, Armenia has watched its adversary, Azerbaijan, receive weapons from Turkey, Russia, and Israel. Armenia has a smaller defense budget than Azerbaijan’s, and thus, has not been able to match the same level of acquisitions, notably, contracting for an export version of Russia’s Iskander ballistic missile system in 2016.[i]

However, despite these challenges, according to the first excerpted article from the Azerbaijani news agency Trend, Armenia received an unnamed weapon system from India in late July 2023. The article also mentions a $400 million contract between India and Armenia signed this past year providing Armenia with the Pinaka multiple rocket launcher, 155 mm artillery systems, anti-tank rockets, and unknown quantities of ammunition.[ii] The second excerpted article from the Azerbaijani news website Caliber reports that the Assistant to the President of Azerbaijan – Head of the Foreign Policy Department of the Presidential Administration, Hikmet Hajiyev, met with India’s ambassador to discuss his concerns about the increasing military cooperation between India and Armenia. Hajiyev noted that India’s cooperation with Armenia comes as Azerbaijan and Armenia are negotiating a peace agreement and that the delivery of new weapons aggravates the situation. The article notes that India’s ambassador would relay the message to Armenia, but that the meeting was unlikely to have a major impact. While Azerbaijan has fair relations with India, it has better relations with Pakistan, including an increasing level of security cooperation in recent years.[iii] Ultimately, the delivery of weapons to Armenia could lead Azerbaijan to deepen its relationship with Pakistan.


Sources:

Takhmaz Asadov, “Из Индии в Армению везут оружие – кто хочет накалить ситуацию в регионе? (Weapons are being delivered from India to Armenia – who wants to heat up the situation in the region?),” Trend (news agency in Azerbaijan), 26 July 2023. https://www.trend.az/azerbaijan/politics/3777500.html

The movement of a vehicle column from the border checkpoint Nurduz (Iran) to Armenia was recorded. According to the spread footage, it can be seen that the cargo being transported is covered with an awning so that the destination of the cargo remains unknown. However, it is clear that the cargo transported from Iran to Armenia is for military purposes and has already been delivered to the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas.

As for the consignor of the cargo, this is India, with which Armenia has recently been rapidly increasing military-technical cooperation. It is known only from open sources in the media that a military contract worth more than 400 million US dollars has been signed between Armenia and India…


“Индия разжигает огонь на Южном Кавказе (India is stoking a fire in the South Caucasus),” Caliber (news website from Azerbaijan), 26 July 2023.https://caliber.az/en/post/180998/

On July 26, Assistant to the President of Azerbaijan – Head of the Foreign Policy Department of the Presidential Administration Hikmet Hajiyev met with the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of India to our country Sridharan Madhusudhanan.

At the meeting, Hikmet Hajiyev noted that the Azerbaijani side is concerned about the deepening of military cooperation between Armenia and India, in particular, the photos and videos circulated in the media in recent days about the transportation of Indian-made weapons systems through Iran to Armenia…

Hikmet Hajiyev stressed that the supply of weapons by India to Armenia, at a time when Azerbaijan is negotiating a peace agreement with this country, serves to militarize Armenia and aggravate the situation, hinder the establishment of lasting peace and security in the South Caucasus region…The Indian Ambassador assured that he would inform official Delhi about the issue raised by Azerbaijan, noted the importance of dialogue between the two countries to discuss issues of concern in bilateral relations…


Notes:

[i] The export version of Iskander missile system does not have as long of a range as the version Russia uses, but it has many of the same capabilities. For background on Armenia’s acquisition of it, see: Matthew Stein “Armenia’s Acquisition of the Iskander Ballistic Missile System,” OE Watch, November 2016. https://community.apan.org/wg/tradoc-g2/fmso/p/oe-watch-issues

[ii] For more information on Armenia’s acquisitions from India, see: Matthew Stein “Armenia Acquires Indian Multiple Rocket Launcher System Amid Delays in Russian Deliveries,” OE Watch, 11-2022. https://fmso.tradoc.army.mil/2022/armenia-acquires-indian-multiple-rocket-launcher-system-amid-delays-in-russian-deliveries/

 [iii] Security cooperation between Azerbaijan and Pakistan has been increasing for the past several years, see: Matthew Stein “Pakistan Providing Border Security Assistance to Azerbaijan,” OE Watch, October 2021. https://community.apan.org/wg/tradoc-g2/fmso/p/oe-watch-issues


Image Information:

Image: Hikmat Hajiyev has been the Foreign Policy Advisor to the President of Azerbaijan since 2018.
Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Hikmat_Hajiyev_via_VOA_(cropped).png
Attribution: Public domain