Azerbaijan, India review trade & economic ties

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The two countries have successfully diversified cooperation in various areas, especially in trade, commerce and energy sector…reports Asian Lite News

India and Azerbaijan held the fifth round of Foreign Office Consultations on November 28 and reviewed bilateral relations comprehensively including, political, trade, and economic matters, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said on Tuesday.

“The Fifth round of India-Azerbaijan Foreign Office Consultations was held in New Delhi on 28 November 2022. Indian delegation was led by Sanjay Verma, Secretary (West),” the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in a statement. Deputy Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan, Elnur Mammadov, led Azerbaijan’s delegation. The 4th Foreign Office Consultations were held in Baku on 28 July 2016.

“The two sides reviewed India-Azerbaijan bilateral relations comprehensively including, political, trade & economic, consular, culture, and education matters. Views were also exchanged on regional issues and cooperation in the UN and other multilateral bodies,” the MEA said.

This year India and Azerbaijan mark the 30th anniversary of establishment of their diplomatic relations. India was one of the first countries to recognize the independence of Azerbaijan in 1991.

The two countries have successfully diversified cooperation in various areas, especially in trade, commerce and energy sector.

According to MEA, bilateral trade has grown many-folds and today stands around USD 1 Billion (January-September 2022). Azerbaijan is emerging as an important supplier of crude oil to India. ONGC Videsh Limited has significant interests in Azerbaijan’s hydrocarbon sector.

About 1400 Indians are living in Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan is also attracting growing numbers of Indian tourists.

Co-operation despite ‘geopolitical differences’

Despite its growing alignment with Pakistan, Azerbaijan is careful that it does not come at the expense of the country’s relations with India as Azerbaijan and India are invested in cooperation despite ‘several geopolitical differences’.

However, India refrained from inviting Azerbaijan to the BRICS summit and additionally prevented India and Bhutan from reportedly signing a declaration voicing NAM countries with Azerbaijan after radical Shia groups stormed the Azerbaijani embassy in London on August 4th, a Research Fellow at the Topchubashov Center in Baku, Azerbaijan, Mahammad Mammadov, said in a statement for New Eastern Europe magazine. The growing divide between the two countries propagated mainly from the diplomatic affinities in the Nagorno-Karabakh and Kashmir conflicts , however, due to burgeoning economic relations between Baku and New Delhi, the damage to bilateral ties between the two countries did not remain for too long.

Moreover, India elected to become more pronounced in its support of Armenia while keeping its “principled position” intact on the Karabakh situation as India’s foreign ministry, referring to Azerbaijan, called upon the aggressor side to immediately cease hostilities, New Eastern Europe magazine reported.

Moreover, the military ties between the Azerbaijan-Pakistan partnership saw good development in terms of joint military exercises and military education programmes.

But, quite soon the war between Russia and Ukraine and the sanctions put by the west on Russia created new opportunities for Azerbaijan and India to put differences aside and co-operate in mutually beneficial areas as India became Azerbaijan’s fourth largest export partner in the first six months of 2022, News Eastern Europe reported quoting Mammadov

In recent times, China is increasingly seeking to find ways to find connectivity with Europe and the Middle East by bypassing Russia and to do so it is escalating tensions in the South Caucasus region, especially in Azerbaijan with the backing of Pakistan.

China has been expanding its BRI projects for last many years. Beijing is being seen building transport routes to Europe that bypass Russia for the last decade.

The South Caucasus region acts as a link between the Middle East, China, Russia and Europe and therefore the region has great strategic significance.

Secondly, it is China’s show of strength to build up connectivity in the region.

China’s ploy to expand its reach in Azerbaijan seemed highly probable as it comes in the backdrop of Azerbaijan’s government probe of a secret military flight which originated from Macao (China) to reach Yerevan in Armenia, reported Portal Plus. (ANI)

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