The significance of the Armenian-Indian relations once again arose among the academics, journalists, and politicians both in Armenia and India amid the outbreak of the Nagorno Karabakh 44-day war. In the war, Turkey and Pakistan supported Azerbaijan, with the former doing so militarily and also by deploying thousands of Jihadists that were in Syria under […]

The significance of the Armenian-Indian relations once again arose among the academics, journalists, and politicians both in Armenia and India amid the outbreak of the Nagorno Karabakh 44-day war. In the war, Turkey and Pakistan supported Azerbaijan, with the former doing so militarily and also by deploying thousands of Jihadists that were in Syria under Turkey’s demand. Pakistan did so by providing logistical and technical support on the ground.

Thus, these two aspects particularly turned the world media’s attention to the South Caucasus; alarmed by the danger of Turkey’s expansionism on the way to re-establish the Ottoman Empire and being aware of Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s announcement of his willingness to create a global Turkish Army.


Going back to history, the authenticity of the Indian-Armenian relations is known through history due to the Armenian community in India (Delhi, Surat, Madras, Murshidabad, and Kolkata). The earliest Armenian who arrived in India was Thomas Cana. He reached the Malabar Coast in 780 CE and was given trading privileges by the ruler of Kodungallur. Another important footprint can be found in the letter of the Court of Directors of the English East India Company (EIC) to Bengal about the Armenian Community: “Most certainly, they are the most ancient merchants of the world…sort of men that travel all over India and know almost every village in the Mughal’s dominions and every sort of goods with such perfect skill and judgment as exceeds the most ancient of our linen drapers”. Also, an Armenian historian Mesrovb Jacob Seth, who was educated at the Armenian College of Calcutta, mentions in his book “Armenians in India” that Armenians in India have not built colonies, unlike the Europeans. These essential historical facts are known to few in both Armenia and India and hence need further exploration. As we witness an Asian awakening amidst waning of the Western influence, nationalism is reappearing. And on that stance, both Armenia and India hold the legacy of one of the oldest civilisations in the world.

Indian presence in Armenia is not huge. However, it is remarkable since Yerevan hosts a growing number of Indians studying in medical school and otherwise after Armenia allowed visa-free entry for Indian citizens in 2017. Additionally, Indian restaurants are growing in numbers and one of the restaurants called “Indian Mehak Restaurant and Bar” in Armenia’s capital Yerevan delivered packages of cooked food to those forced to flee their homes in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Humanitarian support came from a 21-year-old Sanjay Yadav who, with his friends (medical school students), donated food and water for the Armenian soldiers. On an academic level, one of the authors Ararat Kostanian was invited for a webinar discussion by Usanas Foundation, India to reveal Armenia’s position during the war.

However, the relationship extends beyond the cultural linkages as both countries look towards a deeper strategic partnership that can preserve regional peace in the South Caucasus.


The breakout of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in September 2020 was watched closely by New Delhi. Despite a lack of an explicit South Caucasus policy, India, historically, has advocated a peaceful resolution to the conflict.

The 20th century saw India as one of the first countries to establish diplomatic relations with Armenia in 1992. Consequently, New Delhi received three heads of state from Yerevan and also cemented a friendship and treaty cooperation in 1995. At the same time, India outbid Poland and Russia to win a defence deal for SWATHI Weapon Locating Radars in 2020 worth USD 40 million.

Though, having maintained a neutral stand on the conflict in the past, 2020 saw Indian social media coming out in strong support of Armenia. Not without coincidence, this can be attributed to a score of geopolitical convergences that India and Armenia now share. Both India and Armenia envision a rules-based order with respect for human rights and international law. This ideological concurrence opens up a string of other shared areas of concern for both.

Russia, France, and the US have long been working jointly to promote a peaceful resolution to the conflict in South Caucasus through the OSCE’s Minsk Group. However, Turkey undertook a roguish role in the conflict leading to a disruption in this otherwise balanced approach to solving the conflict.

The reports of Syrian mercenaries via Turkey and Pakistani nationals allegedly supporting Azeri forces during the war exposed the possibility of a strong Turkey-Pakistan-Azerbaijan nexus during the conflict. The government and social media in Islamabad also undertook social media attacks in their support for Baku, further highlighting the nexus. It also brings to fore a concern about the rise in Islamist extremism, something both India and Armenia want to counter.

This brings us to a major geopolitical concern that New Delhi and Yerevan share—the expansionist and imperialistic tendencies of Turkey and Pakistan. Ankara, in a bid to gain a stronger role in the energy politics of the South Caucasus and challenge Moscow’s domination, has sought an arrangement with Islamabad and Baku. What also helps is Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s and Imran Khan’s shared dream of being the leaders of the Islamic world. Hence, the triangle has become a major concern for Armenia and India.

Therefore, an enhanced partnership between Yerevan and New Delhi against this backdrop can prove to be useful for maintaining regional peace and security.

Armenia’s support to India on Kashmir and the growing Pakistan-Turkey-Azerbaijan nexus present a unique opportunity to Yerevan and New Delhi to enhance their partnership.

With such a strong foundation, India should formulate a strong South Caucasus Policy in defence, economy, culture and diplomacy. As India ushers in an era of defence indigenisation through ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ and ‘Make in India’, Armenia can prove to be a major market for military procurement. At the same time, both Armenia and India have the chance to join the anti-Turkey coalition of Greece, Cyprus, France, UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt. Armenian and Indian political and military agreements, thus, have the potential of maintaining a balance of power and stability in the region.

Similarly, setting up a joint business forum and identifying areas of investment can also prove to be beneficial for both. In the age of tech and media, we should work upon creating opportunities to bring our youth together in interactions and by providing chances to them to create businesses and start-ups, especially in the IT sector where both Armenia and India are booming. On the diplomatic cum academic front, Armenian and Indian scholars/policymakers should work together in revealing the inhumane atrocities of Armenian and Bangladesh genocides.

It would be rational to argue that even though India and Armenia share friendly relations, improving it under the current geopolitical scenario may prove to be a strategic win-win situation for both countries.