Baku’s Military Spending Surged 493% in 9 Years
BAKU—According to a report a report released by a leading arms observation group on Monday, Azerbaijan is second in the ranking of nations with sharpest increase in military spending, registering a 493 percent increase from 2004 to 2014.
The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute said in its report that while countries like the United States are cutting military spending, a staggering number of countries around the world were doubling their military capabilities.
The report attributed Azerbaijan’s spike in military expenditures to the ongoing Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
Baku Eyes More Weapons from Russia
An aide to Azerbaijan’s Defense Industry Ministry, Azad Mammadov, was quoted by Itar-Tass news agency on Thursday as saying that Baku was looking forward to the participation of Russia’s arms exporter in an international arms exhibit slated to take place in Baku in Septemeber.
Mammadov expressed hope that relations with Rosoboronexport will yield more military purchases for Azerbaijan.
Mammadov emphasized that Russia has already sold Azerbaijan more weapons than any other country, including Turkey. He listed sophisticated Russian tanks, armored vehicles, artillery systems and attack helicopters supplied to Azerbaijan’s armed forces. Azerbaijan has also started the licensed manufacturing of Russian-designed AK-74M assault rifles, the official said, reported RFE/RL.
Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev said in August that the total volume of Russian-Azerbaijani defense contracts is “measured at $4 billion and tends to grow further.” He spoke two months after it emerged that Russia has begun delivering $1 billion worth of offensive weaponry, including about 100 tanks, to the Azerbaijani army.
The disclosed supplies raised eyebrows in Armenia, with local politicians and pundits accusing Moscow of acting against the spirit of the Russian-Armenian military alliance. Russian security officials dismissed the criticism.
General Valery Gerasimov, the chief of the Russian army’s General Staff, signaled Moscow’s readiness to sell more weapons to Azerbaijan when he visited Baku earlier this month. Gerasimov told Azerbaijan’s Defense Minister Zakir Hasanov that “there are prospects for stepping up” bilateral military-technical cooperation.