Joint operational and tactical exercises of the formations and units of the Ministry of Defense, Internal Troops of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the State Border Service have been held on the occasion of the 96th anniversary of the establishment of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
President of the Republic of Azerbaijan and Commander-in-Chief Ilham Aliyev watched the joint operational and tactical exercises.
Defense Minister Col-Gen Zakir Hasanov reported to the President and Commander-in-Chief.
Col-Gen Zakir Hasanov informed Commander-in-Chief Ilham Aliyev of the master plan of the site where joint operational and tactical exercises were to be demonstrated.
The head of state reviewed new and state-of-the-art military hardware, weaponry and ammunition of the Azerbaijani army.
Army building is now among key priorities in the country. It is of immense importance to any country living in a state of war.
The Armed Forces of Azerbaijan have covered a long road of development in the last few years, their material and technical infrastructure has been comprehensively modernized and fighting capability enhanced. Our country has built one of the well organized armies in the world. The army’s material and technical base is being improved and its professionalism increased on a permanent basis. Great achievements have been made in army provision in the last several years. Azerbaijan is allocating huge resources on the military. The military constitutes the biggest expense item of the state budget. The Armed Forces of Azerbaijan have been equipped with state-of-the-art weaponry in recent years. These armored vehicles, modern tanks, artillery installations and other hardware are capable of annihilating any enemy target. As the head of state has repeatedly said, the military spending will further dominate our state budget.
Azerbaijan’s defense industry has also experienced considerable development in the past years. Great work is being carried out to expand local production in the future. Our country already possesses a powerful military industry. Azerbaijan’s defense industry products are on display at world exhibitions and the country’s export capacity is increased yearly.
Our country imports modern military hardware, develops and expands the military industry.
After the review of the hardware, weaponry and ammunition of the Armed Forces of Azerbaijan, a new weapons system exercise began and the joint large-scale operational and tactical exercises were held. The exercises involved a total of 4,000 people, 80 tanks, nearly 100 armored vehicles, almost 80 artillery systems, 10 fighter jets, nearly 20 military and transport helicopters.
The exercises focused on issues related to the planning and organization of joint activities of the Armed Forces and other armed formations with the aim of defending the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan and defeating the aggressor, as well as the protection and defense of the state border, defeat of major forces of the aggressor by launching a counteroffensive. The exercise saw a range of goals set and fully achieved.
One of the primary goals of the exercises was the planning of a joint military deployment of formations, units and sub-units of the Ministry of Defense, Internal Troops of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the State Border Service of the Republic of Azerbaijan as part of the defense of the territory, different levels of coordination between the headquarters in organizing mutual communication. The exercises also focused on the protection of the state border, defense of the territory and coordinated activities of the Armed Forces and other armed units in the course of a counteroffensive operation, synchronization of the military activities of the units, detachments and sub-units. Special attention was paid to coordinated management of troops during joint activities of the Armed Force and other armed units, and the training of administrative activity involving information exchange.
The main stage of the exercises included practical control over air strikes and artillery system firing, landing of airborne forces, deployment of different types of troops and special troops in offensive, tactical activities of the formations, units and sub-units and weapon systems exercises, and communication between formations and units of different forces.
All the goals were achieved and the entire military personnel demonstrated high combat readiness during the joint large-scale operational and tactical exercises of the formations and units of the Ministry of Defense, Internal Troops of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the State Border Service on the occasion of the 96th anniversary of the establishment of the Armed Forces.
President and Commander-in-Chief Ilham Aliyev then addressed servicemen with a speech.
Speech of President of the Republic of Azerbaijan and Commander-in-Chief Ilham Aliyev
- Dear servicemen!
I sincerely congratulate you and the people of Azerbaijan on the Armed Forces Day and wish the entire personnel of the Armed Forces further success.
On this holiday the units of the Ministry of Defense, the Interior Troops and the State Border Service have conducted joint tactical exercises. The exercise was conducted at a high level, all the tasks fulfilled and all targets hit. I want to express my gratitude to the personnel who participated in the exercise for their professionalism.
Azerbaijan has a strong army. The potential of the army is getting increasingly stronger by the day. Army building is our public policy priority, and very much has been done in this direction in recent years. Our army is equipped with new hardware. Some of this machinery was demonstrated here today and then participated in the exercise.
Currently, the material and technical infrastructure of the Azerbaijani army is at the highest level. According to this indicator, our army is one of the strongest armies in the world. The increase of the military spending, which is in first place in the budget expenditure, is a manifestation of our public policy. This is our priority and we will continue to increase our military spending.
Over the past 10 years our military spending increased more than 20 times. Our allocations to the army, to the armed forces exceed the entire state budget of Armenia almost twice. We have purchased the most sophisticated weaponry and ammunition, and today some of this weaponry and machinery was demonstrated here.
Discipline has improved and reforms carried out in our army. It is very gratifying. The combat capability of our army is increasing. Our army is capable of fulfilling any task now, and today's exercises have demonstrated that again. To facilitate the successful development of our army, the logistical supply will be continued. At the same time, we will deepen the reforms in the Armed Forces. Modern military tactics is applied. The most advanced world practices are studied and used in Azerbaijan.
Today's world is dominated by weaponry possessing high-precision and destructive capacity. We are purchasing and will continue to purchase such weapons. At the same time, we have recently established local production in Azerbaijan. Since 2005, the Ministry of Defense Industry has produced 900 items of arms and ammunition for military purposes, and this process is under way. In the future we must ensure complete self-sufficiency with hardware and ammunition. At the same time, different cutting-edge equipment is and will continue to be purchased. The process of modernization should be conducted continuously.
The social protection of servicemen is provided at a high level. The salaries and pensions of servicemen are regularly increased. According to a decree I signed two years ago, those with an impeccable service record of 20 years are provided with apartments by the state. Around 200 apartments have been provided to date. By the end of this year the number of handed out apartments will reach 500. This is a testament to the government's attention to servicemen. Social protection of servicemen for us is a matter of great importance. Azerbaijan lives in a state of war. Under such circumstances, army building should be the most important issue not only for government bodies but also for every citizen.
Our lands are under occupation. The Azerbaijani people are suffering from this occupation. The conflict has remained unresolved for many years. The decisions and resolutions of international organizations are not implemented. We are subjected to a policy of double standards. I have repeatedly expressed my opinion about this from various platforms. And today I want to say that the injustice displayed towards us is unacceptable. There are four UN Security Council resolutions demanding an unconditional withdrawal of the Armenian armed forces from the occupied lands. Twenty years have passed, but none of them has been implemented.
The international community remains indifferent to this issue. Unfortunately, the mediators dealing with this issue, the OSCE Minsk Group is engaged more with confidence building measures rather than a peaceful settlement of the conflict. The first confidence building measure should be the withdrawal of Armenian armed forces from our occupied lands. The negotiations should be conducted on the immediate substance of the issue. Unfortunately, the mediators are not working towards restoration of justice in the talks, but towards prevention of war. This being the case, Azerbaijan is paying and will continue to pay even more attention to army building, and if the negotiations do not bear fruit, we will be left with no other option.
We do not want war. We are trying to resolve the issue peacefully. But we see that this issue has remained unresolved for 20 years. The forces trying to keep the issue in a "frozen" state are, unfortunately, achieving their intentions and goals. However, we do not want to put up and will not put up with this situation. We want peace. But at the same time, we want our lands back. We want justice to be restored. Our demands are justified. Our demands are based on history, international law and justice. Nagorno-Karabakh is native land of Azerbaijan, historical Azerbaijani land. The Azerbaijani people have created architectural works in Nagorno-Karabakh and other territories that are currently under occupation, built houses and cities, created the infrastructure. All place names in Nagorno-Karabakh, the names of villages are of Azerbaijani origin. This is our historical land. It has always been the case, it is the case today and it will be the case in the future. The international community recognizes Nagorno-Karabakh as part of Azerbaijan. No-one will ever recognize the self-proclaimed "Nagorno-Karabakh republic", and Azerbaijan will never allow a second Armenian state to be created on its territory.
This is our principled position. We will not step back from this position. Army building should play an important role in addressing this issue. The strengthening Azerbaijani army is a source of great danger to Armenia. They themselves admit that. They themselves admit their defeat. Their senior officials have repeatedly stated that Armenia is not capable of providing for its own security alone. A country that is unable to ensure its own security can’t be considered independent. In fact, this recognition is an admission of defeat. It is a confession of impotence. They can’t confront us and they admit that themselves.
The strengthening Azerbaijani army is the first factor in addressing the issue. Even in the conditions of a ceasefire our growing army is a source of concern for the Armenians. We all know, we receive operational information that the Armenian army is in fear. We have fully seized the initiative on the frontline. We fully control the situation on the contact line. But the peace-loving policy of the Azerbaijani state is the guarantor of stability today. No outside power can be the guarantor of stability in the region. No outside power can affect our will.
We repeatedly hear from high international platforms that the issue should be resolved peacefully. But the peaceful settlement of the issue depends on our will. We want the issue to be resolved peacefully. No-one can affect our will and our policy. Let everyone know that. First of all, let Armenia and the mediators dealing with this issue know that only a peace-loving position of Azerbaijan can preserve the peaceful environment and the ceasefire today. But our patience is not unlimited.
Today, the advantage we have gained on the contact line is a reality. There is high morale in the Azerbaijani society and the Azerbaijani army. In Armenia and the Armenian army, on the contrary, a decline in spirits is observed. Otherwise, 40,000 Armenians would not have left the country forever in the first quarter of the year alone. Armenia is experiencing a severe demographic crisis. The main reason for this crisis is their aggressive policy. They think that they have gained advantage in the war. But where is this advantage? The Armenian people are living in abject poverty. Armenia can only be considered an independent country. But it has lost its real independence. Why? Because of its aggression!
Azerbaijan has pursued an independent policy. Azerbaijan is growing stronger and represents a power center of the region. Our economic power has transformed into military power. We will continue to enhance our military capabilities and will continue to reinforce our principled position at the negotiating table. The main sources of our principled position are the people of Azerbaijan, their will, the Azerbaijani army and Azerbaijani soldiers. I am sure that Azerbaijan will restore its territorial integrity. We can do it even today.
The professionalism demonstrated in today's exercise, our technical capabilities and the observed growth in patriotic spirits in society create conditions for a speedy solution of the issue by military means at any time. The enemy knows that and is therefore in fear.
We will still remain committed to the talks. But I want to say once again that our patience is running out and the Azerbaijani army is always ready to fulfill the order of the Commander-in-Chief. It is capable of doing that. Our main task is to restore our territorial integrity. First of all, the occupied lands should be vacated. Then Nagorno-Karabakh, also our occupied land, should be under the control of Azerbaijan. The Azerbaijani flag should and will be raised in all the occupied cities, including Shusha and Khankandi. This is our main task.
We will achieve that. Every day and every moment brings us closer to this goal. Today's exercises demonstrate once again that we have got one step closer to this goal.
Azerbaijan believes in its army and state. We rely on our army and state. The Azerbaijani state and the Azerbaijani army protect their citizens.
I want to once again express my gratitude to all the personnel who participated in the exercise. I congratulate the people of Azerbaijan on the Day of the Armed Forces again and wish you robust health and continued success.
Glory to the Azerbaijani Army!