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Vahe Sarukhanyan

Indian Task Force Begins Strategic Air Cargo Shipments to Armenia

Indian Aerospace Defense News (IADN) reports that India, Armenia's largest military supplier, is creating an air corridor to the country to carry out strategic exports.

The logistic connection will be provided by the joint working group HALCON created by two large Indian enterprises, HAL and CONCOR. According to IADN, such exports to the South Caucasus country will strengthen logistic ties between the two countries.

HAL (Hindustan Aeronautics Limited) is an Indian state-owned enterprise specializing in the aerospace and defense industry. The history of the company, based in Bangalore, dates to 1940.  

CONCOR (Container Corporation of India Limited) is also a state-owned company specializing in container transportation. Founded in 1988, it's headquartered in New Delhi.

The HALCON task force has existed for more than ten years, but India Defence reported that it has made significant progress by moving strategic cargo to Armenia for the first time in its history. The type of cargo wasn’t specified.

The first cargo flight to Armenia, witnessed by Saket Chaturverdi, head of HAL's MiG aircraft complex, heralds a new era of India's logistics capabilities and strategic export ambitions, according to India Defence.

Although there is no specification of when the flight took place, the photo available on the Indian website suggests that the Il-76TD cargo plane of the Russian Gelix Airlines carried the cargo.

Hetq found out the plane, with registration RA-76360, flew from the airport in the Indian city of Nashik on March 4 to Yerevan's Zvartnots Airport. The next day, the aircraft returned to Nashik. On March 6, the same plane again arrived in Yerevan from Nashik, and a day later headed for Moscow.

Nashik Airport was built by HAL in 1964, when HAL's aircraft division began licensed production of Soviet MiG-21 fighters there. Indian versions of MiG-27 and Su-30 fighter jets are also produced in Nashik.

The airport currently serves both civil and military aviation. HAL develops, tests and manufactures aircraft for the Indian Armed Forces in Nashik. The airport is also a maintenance station for Indian Air Force aircraft, as well as commercial cargo transportation, which HAL announced in 2011. HALCON is responsible for these shipments. In addition to the above, IndiGo airline carries out passenger flights to various cities of India from Nashik.

According to India Defence, HALCON's initiative to transport strategic cargo comes amid geopolitical developments that highlight the global demand for secure and efficient supply chains. “The collaboration between HAL and CONCOR exemplifies India's determination to seize opportunities in emerging markets, particularly in regions of strategic importance like Armenia,” writes India Defence.

An international cargo expert told the website that HALCON's entry into the strategic air cargo sector shows India's desire to develop reliable logistics networks in response to global changes. According to the expert, HALCON will probably play a decisive role in terms of the growth of India's general trade and the country's strategic outreach.

Regarding Armenia, India Defence notes that Armenia’s location serves as a bridge between Europe and Asia, which makes Armenia an attractive market for Indian goods and services. "Armenia's developing economy and expanding trade ties with India create fertile ground for the expansion of bilateral exchanges," notes "India Defence".

The Indian website quotes another expert as saying: "HALCON's integrated capabilities (meaning HAL's aircraft construction and defense capabilities, as well as CONCOR's logistics capabilities - Hetq) provide a clear advantage in strategic cargo transportation to such important markets as Armenia. HAL's technological edge and CONCOR's logistics network will create a streamlined, secure, and dependable export channel."

Essentially, India is trying to make military supplies to Armenia safer and more reliable, considering the long time spent on exports by land and sea, as well as, perhaps more importantly, the obstacles created and to be created by countries unfriendly to Armenia in the case of ground transportation.

Photos from IADN Facebook page and defense.in

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