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Combat readiness of the Azerbaijani army is at high level

Interview with  Deputy Executive Secretary of YAP, member of the Milli Majlis Security and Defense Committee Siyavush Novruzov

Q: The Day of the Armed Forces is of great importance to Azerbaijan, which now lives in a state of war. We would like you to share your thoughts about this…

A: June 26 is a very remarkable day for our country. It marks one of the most important holidays of Azerbaijan and its people. For Azerbaijan, which has 20 percent of its lands under occupation, army building is of immense importance. For liberating our occupied lands we must have a powerful, well-trained army. On the other hand, a powerful army means a powerful country. Azerbaijan is today one of the fastest growing economies in the world. And our army is also developing at a rapid pace.

The first years of independence put Azerbaijan face to face with serious problems in all spheres of life, including military and defense. The situation began to improve only after national leader Heydar Aliyev returned to political power in 1993 at the request of the people. He immediately took necessary measures to develop army building and increase the country`s defense capabilities. As a result Armenia`s aggression and occupation was stopped, and we even liberated some occupied lands in the direction of  Beylagan.

National leader Heydar Aliyev attached great attention to army building when he held high positions in the Soviet Union. He initiated the opening of Jamshid Nakhchivansky military school in Baku, which is preparing officers for the Azerbaijani army even today. And this policy is today being successfully continued by President and Commander-in-Chief Ilham Aliyev.

As you know the situation on the troops contact line is very tense now as the ceasefire is violated on a daily basis. And this increases the topicality of the fact that Azerbaijan must pay big attention to army building and modernization.

Q: How do you assess combat readiness of the Azerbaijani army?

A: Azerbaijan has a strong army. The potential of the army is getting increasingly stronger by the day. Army building is our public policy priority, and very much has been done in this direction in recent years. Our army is equipped with new hardware.

Currently, the material and technical infrastructure of the Azerbaijani army is at the highest level. According to this indicator, our army is one of the strongest armies in the world. The increase of the military spending, which is in first place in the budget expenditure, is a manifestation of our public policy. This is our priority and we will continue to increase our military spending.

Over the past 10 years our military spending increased more than 20 times. Our allocations to the army, to the armed forces exceed the entire state budget of Armenia almost twice. We have purchased the most sophisticated weaponry and ammunition, and today some of this weaponry and machinery was demonstrated here.

Discipline has improved and reforms carried out in our army. The combat capability of our army is increasing. Our army is capable of fulfilling any task now. I`m confident that the government will deepen the reforms in the Armed Forces. The most advanced world practices are studied and used in Azerbaijan.

Q: Does our army meet NATO standards?

A: The shift to NATO standards started in 2007. We set ourselves a goal of improving our army to make it fully meet NATO standards. First and foremost, the military budget, logistics and education of army personnel should meet NATO standards. Azerbaijan is using products of NATO countries in ensuring the military and technical provision of its army. Relatively old hardware is being improved to NATO standards. NATO standards also require an increase in the number of mercenaries. This is very important. Our army is today fully ready to liberate our occupied lands.

Q: Armenian delegates have recently attended a NATO PA event in Baku and voiced ungrounded views about Azerbaijan. We would like you to compare the Azerbaijani and Armenian armies.

A: In reality, we should not hold negotiations with Armenia because it is not an independent state. We should hold talks with Armenia`s patrons. Yerevan depends on Russia, and cannot decide anything without its consent.

What Armenian delegates said in Baku was certainly ungrounded claims and accusations. The entire world knows that Armenia is on the verge of chaos. More than 70,000 people leave the country every year. In addition, there are serious confrontations between Armenian citizens and Karabakh Armenians. This negatively affects the situation in Armenia`s army because none of the Armenians want to come to military service in Karabakh. The military budget of Armenia is just 250 million dollars. And it is 15 times less than the military budget of Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan`s army can reach Yerevan in just three days if other countries do not interfere. The Armenian army has no potential to put up any resistance to Azerbaijan`s military.