Brain Booster for UPSC & State PCS Examination (Topic: Armenia-Azerbaijan Clashes)

Brain Booster for UPSC & State PCS Examination

Current Affairs Brain Booster for UPSC & State PCS Examination

Topic: Armenia-Azerbaijan Clashes

Armenia-Azerbaijan Clashes

Why in News?

  • Scores of soldiers are being killed in heavy clashes between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces despite calls for a ceasefire. The two sides continued to attack each other with rockets and missiles.
  • Armenian and Azerbaijani armed forces were locked in intense warfare over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh province.


  • Modern-day Armenia and Azerbaijan both became part of the Soviet Union when it was formed in the 1920s. Nagorno-Karabakh was an ethnic-majority Armenian region, but the Soviets gave control over the area to Azerbaijan authorities.
  • The Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh made several calls to be transferred to Armenian authority control in the following decades. But it was only as the Soviet Union began to collapse in the late 1980s that Nagorno-Karabakh's regional parliament officially voted to become part of Armenia.
  • Azerbaijan sought to suppress the separatist movement, while Armenia backed it. This led to ethnic clashes, and - after Armenia and Azerbaijan declared independence from Moscow - a full-scale war.
  • Armenian forces gained control of Nagorno-Karabakh before a Russian-brokered ceasefire was declared in 1994. After that deal, Nagorno-Karabakh remained part of Azerbaijan, but since then has mostly been governed by a separatist, self-declared republic, run by ethnic Armenians and backed by the Armenian government.
  • It also established the Nagorno-Karabakh Line of Contact, separating Armenian and Azerbaijan forces.
  • Peace talks have taken place since then mediated by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Minsk Group - a body set up in 1992 and chaired by France, Russia and the United States.
  • But so far a peace treaty has not been signed. Clashes have continued throughout the past three decades, with the last serious flare up in 2016, when dozens of troops on both sides died.


  • The Caucasus are a strategically important mountainous region in south-east Europe. For centuries, different powers in the region - both Christian and Muslim - have vied for control there.
  • Armenia is majority Christian while oil-rich Azerbaijan is majority Muslim.
  • Turkey (a member of NATO) has close ties to Azerbaijan, while Russia is allied with Armenia - although it also has good relations with Azerbaijan.
  • Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has pledged his nation's support for Azerbaijan.
  • Moreover, Turkey has no official relations with Armenia. In 1993 Turkey shut its border with Armenia in support of Azerbaijan during the war over Nagorno-Karabakh.
  • Armenia meanwhile has good relations with Russia. There is a Russian military base in Armenia, and both are members of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) military alliance.

Tense Situation

  • In scale and scope, the ongoing conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan exceeds anything the region has seen in the past 40 years.
  • There is also the question of the network of oil and gas pipelines and strategic roads to which access might be blocked or interrupted for the region at large should any large-scale fighting ensue.
  • With the exception of Turkey, other regional and global powers have called for restraint. Iran, Georgia and Qatar have offered to mediate.
  • Rather Turkey has been blamed for transporting mercenaries from Syria to Azerbaijan, which could further escalate the crisis. Along with that Pakistan is also under the lens of providing mujahideen soldiers to Azerbaijan, as it did in early 1990s war.
  • A meeting of the United Nations Security Council on 29 September affirmed the primary role of the Minsk Group, chaired by France, Russia and the United States, of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, in mediating between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
  • Most Recently, The conflict zone in the fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan continued to expand, as Azerbaijani forces have hit the de facto capital of Nagorno-Karabakh, Stepanakert, and Armenian forces responded by hitting Azerbaijan’s second-largest city, Ganja.