Conversations on Groong - Jan 18, 2023
*Indo-Armenian Friendship NGO
Episode 209 | Recorded: January 18, 2023
Mr. Anand, since this is your first time on our show, we’re interested in hearing more about you and your involvement with Armenian relations or the involvement of Armenians in your life.
India is one of the largest countries in the world, and is barely second only to China as the most populous country in the world. In fact, within a few years India is expected to overtake China in this area. At the same time, India is the most populous, or largest democracy in the world, and a major regional and nuclear power, with significant technology and defense industries. So it is quickly rising to become a world power, which other major powers can no longer ignore or take for granted. Since the start of the war in Ukraine, Indian-Russian partnership has further developed. India has increased its consumption of Russian gas. India is also a key member of BRICS, which is set to grow much more in influence as a testament to the rearrangement of the world geopolitical order.
India and Armenia are seemingly natural allies. On the diplomatic side, Armenia is the only country in the Caucasus that has a Friendship and Cooperation Treaty with India (since 1995). But in terms of economy, for whatever reason, Indian-Armenian trade isn’t as great as it could be.
However, since late October 2021 there is renewed energy in developing economic, as well as military relations between the two countries, as Indian Foreign Minister Subramanyam Jaishankar, made a historic, first-ever diplomatic visit to Armenia.
Meanwhile, India’s adversary Pakistan has been very active in developing its relations with Armenia’s enemies, Turkey and Azerbaijan, and continues to invest militarily in these relationships.
We’ve discussed on this show the North-South Corridor of world trade, which takes commerce to and from the Persian Gulf to the Black Sea, essentially connecting the economies of India and South Asia to Europe. This corridor theoretically would pass through Iran, and Armenia, and Georgia in the South Caucasus.
During the 44-day war in Nagorno Karabakh in 2020, Pakistan threw its full support behind Azerbaijan’s vicious aggression against a peaceful population. During and since that war, the world has mostly paid lip service to the war crimes and humanitarian crisis unfolding in Artsakh, and the need of the indigenous Armenian population. India has been a rare exception. Recently, India has not only been unambiguous in its support and sympathy for Armenia, but has also started helping Armenia rearm itself, and supplying it with Indian-made weapons to defend itself.
Improving geopolitical ties between India and Armenia can be greatly supported and augmented by public-private partnerships, with the help of private citizens and businessmen such as yourself. Despite being one of the most populous and largest countries in the world, India is not one of the top 5 of Armenia’s trade partners. Yet India is Azerbaijan’s 4th largest trade partner.
In 2021 Armenia imported from India around $89 million worth of products, while India imported from Armenia around $122 million; most of it was in gold, or other metals, gems, precious stones. This will go up in 2023, given the defense deal that was signed in September 2022.
We hope you found our Conversations on Groong helpful, we invite your feedback and your suggestions. You can find us on most social media and podcast platforms. Thanks to Laura Osborn for the music on our podcasts.
Asbed is founder of Groong and co-founder of the ANN/Groong podcast.
Hovik Manucharyan is an information security engineer who moved from Seattle to Armenia in 2022. He co-founded the ANN/Groong podcast in 2020 and has been a contributor to Groong News since the late 1990s.