Azerbaijan’s Ambassador to Pakistan Ali Alizadeh has called for Azerbaijan and Pakistan to engage in the joint production of defence hardware (The Express Tribune).
In his speech commemorating the 25th anniversary of Azerbaijan’s restoration as an independent state, Ambassador Alizadeh said:
“Azerbaijan has also been developing its defence industry and Pakistan is a very developed country from this point of view. So, we can work together to start joint production and further develop cooperation in the military area.”
Notes & Comments:
The call for strong bilateral defence relations has seen a surge in 2016. In April, Azerbaijan invited Pakistan to exhibit the JF-17 at its marquee defence exhibition in Baku, ADEX. In September, the Pakistan Minister of Defence Production Rana Tanveer Hussain expressed interest in entering the Azeri defence market. In November, aviation journalist Alan Warnes reported that Azerbaijan renewed its interest in the JF-17.
Although a JF-17 sale would be a welcome sign for Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC), it is possible that Azerbaijan could also be pursuing its own industry interests as well.
During ADEX 2016, Azeri officials reportedly spoke to Ukrspecexport – i.e. the Ukrainian defence industry’s commercial export arm – over the prospect of jointly manufacturing guided munitions, including anti-tank guided missiles, and cooperation in armoured solutions.
It is worth noting that discussions in similar areas were also held between Ukrspecexport and Pakistan. In fact, Pakistan signed a $600 million U.S. agreement with Ukraine to procure engines for the al-Khalid main battle tank and other armour-related assistance. Baku could be interested in utilizing the supplier overlap, perhaps to widen scale and share investment in certain Ukrainian programs, such as armoured solutions and anti-tank missiles.