The minister of defense Vigen Sargsyan has announced that during his visit to China he did not sign an agreement with China on supply of ammunition to Armenia. At the same time, Vigen Sargsyan said he discussed important issues of political-military cooperation with the Chinese side.
According to the minister of defense, the conversation about the acquisition of weapons from one country or another is useless because it further complicates the acquisition process. At the same time, it is a clear reminder for the enemy that Armenia has some plans and allows it taking precautions.
Is Vigen Sargsyan hiding Armenia’s technical-military plans from the enemy, namely with regards to China or no agreements were reached with China during his visit to Pekin?
Ahead of Vigen Sargsyan’s visit to China the Russian news agency Sputnik in Armenia informed that Sargsyan has left for China to buy an antidote to UAVs that China has. At the same time, Sputnik linked this to the visit of a Chinese delegation to Armenia and meeting with Prime Minister Karapetyan ahead of Vigen Sargsyan’s visit to Pekin. According to the message, the Chinese company also produces means to counteract UAVs.
Does Vigen Sargsyan think that the Sputnik’s publication was a “clue” to Armenia’s plans intended for Azerbaijan? At least, the defense minister’s clarification during the press conference arouses this question and more. In particular, the question occurs whether this “clue” did not allow Azerbaijan to take actions ahead of Vigen Sargsyan’s visit to Pekin which may have prevented a deal on supply of arms?
And could Azerbaijan influence China? This is a question, of course, but on the other hand the question is whether Azerbaijan influenced or simply asked Russia to influence. At least, the visit of the defense minister to China was marked by another interesting publication in the Russian press. RIA Novosti published an article that Armenia is leaving for China to buy ammunition because the Russian ammunition is not enough for Yerevan to feel secure. This article written with unhidden jealousy and at the same time with a shade of “betrayal” was shortly removed from RIA Novosti, one of the primary platforms of the state Russian propaganda. There is a popular point of view that it was removed due to a backlash in Armenia, and it is possible that the article was an Azerbaijani order, part of the so-called Russian-Azerbaijani “business”. It is possible indeed.
However, another option is possible too. The article may be removed because the article had already done what it was expected to do. In addition, the article may have done a double job. On the one hand, the publication of the article made Azerbaijan become Russia’s “customer” for influencing a possible agreement between China and Russia. On the other hand, the Armenians were first dissatisfied, then they were satisfied that their dissatisfaction forced Russia to remove the article.
In any case, the visit of the Armenian minister of defense to China was marked by a “reconnaissance and attack” by the Russian media, and now Vigen Sargsyan announces that no agreement on purchase of ammunition was achieved. Of course, it is not ruled out that the minister’s statement is camouflage for a possible agreement.
However, outside this context, the problem should be considered against another platform. In particular, the Armenian-Chinese cooperation has another important dimension and potential which may be even more important than acquisition of weapons from China.
Today China is a major investor in the world and has become a major actor in the defense industry and now seems inferior to the United States and Russia only.
Pekin may be of interest for security purposes, as a partner, investor in developing a defense industry.
Has this been discussed between Yerevan and Pekin in important discussions on defense and political cooperation? In fact, revealing this aspect may also harm the possible process.
At the end of the day, one of the priorities of the Armenian-Chinese relations should be security, as well as economic development opportunities with a view to security enhancements.