INDEPENDENT AZERBAIJAN AND FORMATION OF ARMY

After Azerbaijan regained independence, there was adopted a decision on September 5, 1991, on the establishment of the Ministry of Defence and law on October 9 the same year on establishment of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Azerbaijan, however the republic’s leadership made no effort to fulfil these documents. Lands were defended by scattered volunteer bands only. There were various armed groups serving personal interests. It all was ended only after the return of national leader Heydar Aliyev to the power in 1993. As Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces Heydar Aliyev achieved rebirth in military sphere too. Annulling armed units acting under name of local self-defence and volunteer battalions he created the regular army in the united command system. The Commander-in-Chief visited the battlefront and met with fighters. In early 1994, successful military operation was carried out against the enemy in the direction to Horadiz settlement of Fuzuli district. After the ceasefire declared on May 12, 1994, the process towards the formation of the modern regular army was started in Azerbaijan.

Governed by the principle of succession, June 26 is marked as the Armed Forces Day and August 18 as the professional holiday of employees of Frontier Troops upon orders of national leader Heydar Aliyev of May 22, 1998, and August 16, 2000, respectively.

Military education, training of qualified military personnel was the focus of attention as the major component of the formation of an army. The number of our military education institutions foundation of which was laid by the Nakhchyvanski Military Lyceum was lifted due to the influential military higher education centres. Azerbaijan Supreme Military School was founded in 1997. To improve the military education system Heydar Aliyev signed a decree on January 20, 1999, on the creation of the Military Academy. Upon decree of August 20, 2001, of the President, the Training and Learning Center of the Defence Ministry was established to improve the training of personnel for the Armed Forces.

Azerbaijan Naval School and Azerbaijan Supreme Military Aviation School that operates in the system of the Defence Ministry have a special role in increasing the defence potential of our country. Beside local military schools that have high personnel potential and strong logistics, our servicemen were sent to countries such as Turkey, Russia, Ukraine, Pakistan, China to study in a number of necessary military specializations. Azeri servicemen take close part in qualification lifting and training courses in the frame of the NATO Peace Partnership Programme. Azerbaijan cooperates with NATO within the Individual Partnership Action Plan and this guarantees the next achievements in the field of formation of an army in the country.

Works done very rapidly and at a high level over the past 15 years in Azerbaijan towards the formation of the army have fruits. Today, Azerbaijan possesses the strongest army in the region.

Along with stability, dynamic economic development, the formation of a strong army is one of the major factors characterizing modern Azerbaijan. Growth of economic power of our country during the past years has contributed to the solution of social issues and consolidation of the national army. Expenses allocated from state budget to military field have been lifted for many times that in its turn lifted the potential of the army to a high level in all directions. Components of the Armed Forces of Azerbaijan – Defence Ministry, military units of State Special Protection Service, Internal Troops of Home Affairs Ministry, State Frontier Service, National Security Ministry, Emergency Ministry are in the phase of high progress due to huge care and attention by the leadership of the state. Military education and military healthcare that are of big importance nowadays are intensively developing too.

Taking into consideration the Armenian occupation and continuation of the war the state of Azerbaijan continuously increases its military strength and professionalism of military personnel.

President of the republic, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces Ilham Aliyev regularly visits military units, meet with soldiers and officers serving in the battlefront and it is one of the main factors strengthening our army.

The military superiority of Azerbaijan over Armenia has not been achieved immediately and by chance. Over the past 15 years, Azerbaijan leadership has functioned upon the principle that economic potential and strong army are the main among the factors defining the success and development of every country. The modern army plays an essential role in the strengthening of independence and changing the country into the geopolitical strength centre in the region. President of the republic, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces Ilham Aliyev has very clearly and correctly expressed the substance of the policy the state of Azerbaijan conducts in this course: ‘… In all spheres, we are trying for development of processes ongoing in the army… Huge works have been done over the past years to strengthen logistics, lots of technical equipment, modern weapons purchased and thus, the Azerbaijan army has considerably been strengthened. We will be continuing this process. Azerbaijan is in the state of war and in this event, big attention must be paid to the formation of the army first of all’.

Of course, to strengthen its military potential Azerbaijan should effectively and properly use its rapidly growing economic resources. Even forces and persons denying everything confess that stability, dynamic development and formation strong army are main features of modern Azerbaijan and these features are firmly connected. Strong economic development, growing revenues bring to increase of military expenses yearly. Only for the last 5 years, these expenses have increased more than 7 times.

However, actions towards army construction are not limited to the use of economic resources only. Azerbaijan constantly strengthens its army, lifts the professionalism of military personnel, increases military power. Close and fruitful cooperation with NATO aims to rapidly improve the formation of an army, modernize the Armed Forces and conform them to the modern standards. Certainly, the major objective is to restore the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, release Garabagh and all regions occupied by Armenians of the enemy. A lot of significant results have been achieved in the way towards this decisive phase and this process is continued. Observations show that Azerbaijan has entered the phase to change its potential military superiority into reality.