Armenia and Azerbaijan controversy over disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh

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News: The Authorities in Nagorno-Karabakh reported that more than 26 of its serviceman had been killed in the battling. At the heart of the conflict is a dispute over control of the mountain region of Nagorno-Karabakh.

About Nagorno-Karabakh region:

This is landlocked mountainous region. It is the subject of an unresolved dispute between Azerbaijan, in which it lies, and its ethnic Armenia majority.

The clash has roots dating back well over a century into competition between Christian Armenia and Muslim Turkic and Persian influences. Inhabited from centuries by Christian Armenia and Turkic Azeris, Karabakh became part of the Russian empire in the 19th century.

After the end of World War I, the Bolshevik revolution in Russia came, the new Soviet rulers, as part of the divide-and-rule policy in the region started, established the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous region, with an ethnic Armenia majority, within the Soviet Socialist Republic of Azerbaijan in the early 1920s.

As soviet control loosened towards the end of the 1980s, burning Armenian-Azeri frictions exploded into violence when region’s parliament voted to join Armenia. During the fighting, people lost their lives and occupied Azerbaijan territory outside Karabakh, creating a buffer zone linking Karabakh and Armenia.

In 1991, the break-up of the Soviet Union, Karabakh declared itself an independent republic. That de facto status has not been recognized elsewhere. While Armenia itself has never officially recognized the region’s independence, it has become its main financial and military backer.

A Russian-brokered ceasefire was signed in 1994, leaving Karabakh as well as swathes of Azeri territory around the enclave in Armenia hands. Karabakh is the Russian rendering of an Azeri word meaning ‘black garden’, while Nagorno is a Russian word meaning “mountainous”. The ethnic Armenians prefer to call the region Artsakh, an ancient Armenian name for the area.

In a December 2006 referendum, declared illegitimate by Azerbaijan, the region approved a new constitution. Nonetheless, there have since been signs of life in the peace process, with occasional meetings between the Armenian and Azeri presidents. The most serious so far occurred in April 2016, when dozens of soldiers on both sides died in a fresh flare-up of hostilities.


1. The North–South Transport Corridor (NSTC) is a multi-mode network of ship, rail, and road route for moving freight between India, Iran, Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia.

2. The objective of the corridor is to increase trade connectivity between major cities such as Mumbai, Moscow, Tehran, Baku etc. Once complete, the route is set to drastically reduce transport times between India and Azerbaijan.

3. This NSTC, once completed, atleast on the Iran-Azerbaijan leg, will have Indian ports linked with Azerbaijan via Iran (Chabahar Port) providing a smoother logistics experience for suppliers at far lesser costs. A study says that the new route will reduce distances by 40% and costs by 30%.

4. Cultural influences and remnants in the country are quite a sight to behold. One of them is the “Fire Temple of Baku” (Baku Ateshgah), a castle-like religious temple just outside of Baku.

5. Bilateral trade coincided with the opening of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) oil pipeline to the Mediterranean port in 2007, from where Indian oil companies have been buying substantive quantities of crude oil.

6. Supports Pakistan’s claim on Kashmir issue.


1. In 2017, the Indian Vice-President visited to Yerevan.

2. However, most interesting agreement is related to India’s intension to build an Earth observation satellite (EOS) for Armenia.

3. The SWATHI radars have been developed by the DRDO which opens up new vistas of cooperation for both countries.

4. India has implemented a “Telemedicine” project in Armenia.

5. The Indian-Armenian tandem is indeed a reaction to the Azerbaijan-Pakistan-Turkey strategic triangle. For several years, Azerbaijan, Pakistan and Turkey have coordinated their positions on a number of vitally important issues like economic cooperation and supporting each other’s territorial integrity. While Turkey openly raises the Kashmir issue at the behest of Pakistan, Azerbaijan prefers to refer to “international law principles” in resolving the territorial conflict in order not to anger India.

Source- BBC, cacianalyst,

UPSC: Mains Topic: International Relation

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