By Rashid Shirinov
The Azerbaijani Armed Forces is the richest in the region, reads a report published by Russia Today agency on April 14.
The report highlights that Azerbaijan has increased its military budget by 20 times since the early 2000s, and currently Baku purchases weapons of Russian, Israeli and Turkish production.
“The Azerbaijani army is in permanent combat readiness because of the unresolved Nagorno-Karabakh conflict with Armenia,” the publication reports.
The Azerbaijani Army, which today is considered the most modern army in the Caucasus, consists of Air Force and Air Defense Forces, the Navy, and the Land Forces.
The skills and combat readiness of the Azerbaijani army are growing year by year, as the country’s Armed Forces regularly conduct military exercises. The Azerbaijani army is supplied with modern weapons and technical equipment for maintaining a high level of combat capability.
Azerbaijan provides the national Army with sufficient military budget every year. Defense spending of Azerbaijan determined in the state budget for 2017 made up 2.64 billion manats ($1.59 billion), which exceeds the spending for 2016.
The army building process is of particular importance for Azerbaijan, as twenty percent of the country's territory is under Armenian occupation and the country is in a state of war with Armenia.
Azerbaijan and Armenia for over two decades have been locked in conflict, which emerged over Armenian territorial claims to Azerbaijan. Since the 1990s war, Armenian armed forces have occupied over 20 percent of Azerbaijan's internationally recognized territory, including Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent regions. The UN Security Council has adopted four resolutions on Armenian withdrawal from the occupied lands of Azerbaijan, but they have not been enforced to this day.
While the OSCE Minsk Group acted as the only mediator in resolution of the conflict, the occupation of the territory of the sovereign State with its internationally recognized boundaries has been left out of due attention of the international community for years.