ASIAOPINION

Fortifying relations with Azerbaijan: Future prospects for Pakistan

By Saima Ali

“Pakistan has a very developed defense industry. We discussed detailed cooperation in this area… So we can work together to establish joint production,” said President Aliyev.

After the successful occurrence of first-ever Russia Pakistan joint military exercise in September, 2016 Azerbaijan has shown its keen interest to follow the footsteps of its predecessor with Pakistan. Above statement was stated by Azeri President during Nawaz first ever visit to Azerbaijan in October, 2016. Pakistan-Azerbaijan has completed 24 years of bilateral relationship. The collaboration between the two states enlarges to every sphere ranging from political, economic, technological, security to cultural ground.

Pakistan has offered Azerbaijan several originally developed defense products, including the JF-17 fighter and Mushshaq trainer jets. Other defense products offered include armoured and unarmoured means of transportations, command and control systems, ammunition, body armour and personnel defense systems, and anti-aircraft defense systems. At hand, Pakistan is selling some conventional arms to the United States, United Kingdom, Germany and some Far Eastern countries. Azerbaijan and Pakistan have already built a stable base for wide-ranging cooperation in a number of different areas related to defense, security and trade.

In this context, high level delegation from Azerbaijan will visit and attend next week Defense Expo, which is going to be held in Karachi. Not only will they attend the expo but their visit to defense production facilities is highly expected in order to buy suitable weapons and equipments.

Significantly, on regional and international issues, Azerbaijan has always supported Pakistan stance on Kashmir. At this time both the countries adopting reciprocate approach as Pakistan always supported Azerbaijan in its conflict with Armenia over Nagorno Karabakh conflict. Moreover Pakistan is the only country in the world which has not yet recognized Armenia. On the other hand, Pakistan was the third country which immediately recognized Azerbaijan in 1991. Azerbaijan and Armenia has more and less same conflict of region named Nagorno Karabakh as Pakistan and India has on the Kashmir issue. Since 1991, Pakistan and Azerbaijan enjoy close and cordial relations, characterized by shared perceptions on major global and regional issues. In return for Pakistan’s support to Azerbaijan on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Azerbaijan has supported Pakistan’s stance on Kashmir resolution. Specifically, after the resolution passed by the Foreign Relations Committee of the Senate of Pakistan in support of Azerbaijan, there is an increase in demand in Pakistani public circles for a reciprocal resolution on Kashmir from the platform of Parliament of Azerbaijan on account of similarities that Kashmir issue holds with Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

As Kashmir conflict has been on the agenda of the United Nations for more than six decades now, as an unfulfilled duty and Pakistan reiterates its unwavering resolve to stand by Kashmiri brothers and sisters who have continued their courageous struggle to achieve legal right of self-determination. Azerbaijan understands the issue well and has always supported the stance of Pakistan.

Apart from official diplomatic high level visits and meetings that are regularly held among the heads of states, military and parliamentary officials; few prominent among many significant developments that have contributed towards cementing of the ties between the two states are; formation of Joint Ministerial Commission cultural forums like Pakistan-Azerbaijan Friendship Association, existence of Multani Caravanserai in Ichiri Sheher Baku, reconstruction of the High School for Girls donated by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation of Azerbaijan in Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

Keeping in mind the international viewpoint and divergent association among states, few significant joint ventures in terms of cooperation at national and international spheres are possible between Pakistan and Azerbaijan.

The exchange of ideas on success and disadvantages can help both sides formulate right options at right times. Multiple non-traditional security measures and traditional security measures hold opportunities; Pakistan and Azerbaijan just need attempts and serious measures for military, political and economic and cultural cooperation.

Imperative point to highlight and understand is that political goodwill can remain in contact as a back support. The community links between Azerbaijan and Pakistan can be created and strengthened as they are real force that can bring real difference. Pakistan and Azerbaijan face varied regional challenges but both of the countries have immense capacity too, apart from just mentioning what can be done, much can be done in real sense with the will to cooperate.

As in recent visit to Azerbaijan, Premier Nawaz talked about its priority to extend all possible facilities to the business community. He said his government has been in constant contact with the business community to address different issues and Pakistan’s exports have risen as a result.

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Saima Ali

Saima Ali is a Research Associate at Strategic Vision Institute and can be reached at saima@thesvi.org

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