India's Pinaka Rockets: A Controversial Factor in Armenia-Azerbaijan Conflict

August 4, 2023

According to Azerbaijani media outlets, the initial consignment of Pinaka rockets, manufactured in India, has purportedly reached Armenia via road transportation through Iran.

On Wednesday, multiple Twitter users and Azerbaijani publications shared a video displaying a truck transporting defence equipment, claimed to be a shipment of Pinaka rockets, traveling from New Delhi to the Armenian capital, Yerevan.

According to Azerbaijani media outlets, India purportedly transferred the cargo to Armenia through Iran's Bandar Abbas port. Notably, Iran's geographical location places it adjacent to both Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Earlier this year, India's decision to sell military equipment to Armenia caught Azerbaijan's attention. President Ilham Aliyev described it as an "unfriendly move."

Yerevan and Baku refer to the capital cities of Armenia and Azerbaijan, respectively. However, it is important to note that Indian defense equipment has not been utilized in any armed conflict between these two cities or nations.

Understanding "Pinaka Rocket Launcher"

Pinaka Multi-Barrel Rocket Launcher System {MBRLS}, is an advanced weapon system developed by India's Defense Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). It is often considered as a counterpart to the American HIMARS (High-Mobility Artillery Rocket System). The Pinaka MBRLS is known for its ability to launch multiple rockets simultaneously from a single launcher, providing a rapid and devastating firepower to the Indian Armed Forces. Similarly, the HIMARS, a highly mobile artillery rocket system, offers the United States military similar capabilities. Both these systems have garnered attention and recognition for their effectiveness in modern warfare scenarios, making them significant assets for their respective nations.

The Pinaka system has a special ability to quickly shoot down and evade detection during a multi-pronged drone attack. This helps it effectively defend against such threats.

Back in 1999, during the Kargil War, the Indian Army used the Pinaka system in a combat zone for the first time. It proved its strength by successfully targeting and eliminating positions of the Pakistani intruders in the high mountain ranges.

A year later, the Indian Army officially included the Pinaka system into its ranks.

The latest version of the Pinaka system can shoot rockets up to a distance of 40 kilometers. It consists of six launchers, and each launcher can hold up to 12 rockets at a time.

In addition to the launchers, a complete unit of the Pinaka system includes two "command post" vehicles and six "loader-replenishment" vehicles. These vehicles help with the coordination and reloading of rockets. The system also incorporates a fire control computer, which assists in accurately aiming and firing the rockets, as well as a radar for improved detection and targeting capabilities.

Two command post vehicles serve a vital role in the Pinaka system. These vehicles are responsible for managing and coordinating the operations of the entire system. They provide a centralized command center from which the soldiers can monitor and control the launchers, as well as communicate with other units and assess the battlefield situation.

Deteriorating Relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan

Nagorno-Karabakh is a region located within Azerbaijan, but most of its population is Armenian. Back in the 1980s, when the Soviet Union was facing growing tensions among its republics, Nagorno-Karabakh held a referendum and voted to join Armenia. This decision led to a war between Armenia and Azerbaijan, which came to a halt in 1994 with a ceasefire.

Modern-day Armenia and Azerbaijan became part of the Soviet Union when it formed in the 1920s

Nagorno-Karabakh is a region in the South Caucasus with a predominantly Armenian population but internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan. The area's significance lies in its historical, cultural, and strategic importance to both countries. Armenia views it as the birthplace of Armenian civilization, with religious and cultural sites, while Azerbaijan considers it part of its territory, emphasizing national sovereignty. The control dispute has fuelled a long-standing conflict, causing casualties and displacement. Despite numerous attempts, a peaceful settlement remains elusive, leading to periodic outbreaks of violence and tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is influenced by religious and ethnic differences, with Armenia predominantly Christian and Azerbaijan being mostly Muslim. Turkey supports Azerbaijan due to cultural ties, while Russia's alliance with Armenia further complicates the situation. These factors, along with regional geopolitical dynamics, contribute to the complexity of the conflict.




By Girish Linganna
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