Pashinyan announces increase in defence spending and move towards a professional army

Earlier today (25 October), the prime minster of Armenia, Nikol Pashinyan, announced an increase in spending on defence and the move towards the creation of a professional army. Presenting the 2022 state budget draft at the joint sitting of the standing committees of the National Assembly, Pashinyan laid out a proposal based on three priorities: reform of the security system; improvement, development of infrastructure, modernization of education; science. 

The new budget –which will “lay the foundations” for the implementation of the government’s five year action plan – also includes an increase in spending on defence for 2022 of over 727 million USD, 11% higher than the previous year. Moreover, the prime minister announced the move to create a professional army in Armenia, adding that this would be done “smoothly, with thoughtful steps, step by step increasing the attractiveness of military service, improving the image of officer-officer service, developing and improving the defence doctrine of the Republic of Armenia”. Speaking at the National Assembly in August this year Pashinyan stated that “by a professional army, we mean a soldier 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 30, 31, 28 or 29 days a month, 12 months a year”, noting that this would entail a significant change in the structure of conscription and military service. As part of the plan to reform the security system, the budget also proposes a modernisation of the defence capabilities of the army, as well as the creation of a “favourable external environment around the republic of Armenia”

However, while the emphasis of this budget was in large part on upgrading and increasing the military capabilities of Armenia, the prime minister made it clear that this was part of a defensive strategy aimed at protecting its borders. He said that “in the Government program we have already emphasized that the Republic of Armenia, like any peace-loving state, will develop and transform the Armed Forces not for aggression, but to defend itself from aggression”, adding that Armenia had no territorial claims or intentions of conquering territories. 

Pashinyan also affirmed that “the launch of the process of withdrawal of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces from the territory of the Republic of Armenia, in particular, the Sotk-Khoznavar section, demarcation of the delimitation of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border” would create favourable conditions for resolving territorial disputes and border issues. 

source: commonspace.eu and agencies
photo: Pashinyan speaking at the joint sitting of the standing committees of the National Assembly; Official website of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia

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