“Security and army are top priorities” - PM visits Defense Army outposts in northern section
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Together with Artsakh Republic President Bako Sahakyan, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan visited the frontier positions in the northern section of the Defense Army.
Prime Minister Pashinyan and President Sahakyan were accompanied by Chief of the General Staff of the RA Armed Forces Artak Davtyan and AR Defense Minister-Commander of the Defense Army Karen Abrahamyan.
Nikol Pashinyan and Bako Sahakyan were briefed on the current situation on the frontline, as well as on engineering and technical activities carried out recently at the frontier positions. The Prime Minister and the President of the Republic of Artsakh got acquainted with the servicemen’s living conditions and talked to the soldiers.
The head of the Armenian government attached importance to the continued development of the armed forces, military industry, noting that the army should become the locomotive of economic development.
The Prime Minister stressed the importance of introducing a new food supply system in the armed forces and noted that it could become a catalyst for agriculture, as agricultural products will be purchased directly from farners.
During the meeting with servicemen, Nikol Pashinyan touched upon the purpose of visiting the border posts, development of the armed forces, interpersonal relations among servicemen and other issues.
In his speech, the Prime Minister stated:
“Dear President of the Artsakh Republic,
Dear Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Armenia,
Dear Defense Army Commander,
Officers, Generals, Soldiers,
I am pleased to see you. The purpose of our tour today is to find out whether there are positive changes in our troops’ service standards in the long run and for the short term. That is, what happened in the short term and what should happen in the long run. And of course, the most important thing is to see you, your eyes, and to try to read what is written in your eyes. I am happy to note that in your eyes I can see confidence in your own strengths, confidence in our homeland and confidence in our future.
Of course, in the eyes of some it seems strong, in the eyes of others it is weak, but our common goal is to enhance our collective trust and strengths. And I wish to hope that you always feel that the authorities of the Republic of Armenia, the authorities of the Republic of Artsakh do not forget for a moment about the soldier who protects the border. Recently, we had the opportunity to award military titles at the Ministry of Defense. We recorded that what is happening in the rear, any activity makes sense as long as our soldier stands firm on the borderline.
Business, political activity, no matter whether opposition or pro-government, any activity is meaningful owing to your service, because if you, we, the Armed Forces of the Republic of Armenia, and the Artsakh Republic do not stand behind the army, everything else will be useless, everything starting from cafes , from theaters, movies, cars, pavilions, entertainment, everything will be useless.
And I want you to be aware of that reality, because sometimes there may be a question as to why we are here. You stand here to make life, activities, every day and every moment of our entire state, our people, meaningful, because if you are not here, there will be no point in doing anything at all. Therefore, our Government and I myself want you to feel every minute how highly we appreciate the service you render to the Motherland.
The Homeland is the highest feeling we have, but I want each of us to understand more precisely what the Homeland is, or rather who the Homeland is, what the Homeland is. Homeland is your parents, your sisters, your brothers, your relatives. Homeland is your beloved ones, Homeland is your friends, Homeland is your grandparents, Homeland is your offspring who are yet to be born and need to live freely and in a happy country. And I hope you feel that care and that concern.
There are huge changes going on in the Armed Forces now. Of course, some of these changes will make you feel sooner depending on the location, other circumstances, but you need to know one thing: Many say that security and the army is a priority, but I say that security and the army are priorities above all, because everything in the rear depends on our army’s fighting capacity.
Say a friend of yours, or your parents are celebrating someone’s birthday in a quiet, happy ambiance. They can enjoy the party owing to your service, because if it were not for that service, it would not have happened, and it would not have made any sense.
And now our goal is to make you feel this connection, this content at the level of armor, feel in the shoes you wear, feel in the clothes you wear, feel in your attitude to one another. The matter is up to you here rather than to the Government. This is one of our most important issues, not just in the army, but in our country, as a whole.
Homeland is the way we treat each other, Homeland starts from there, because just as we treat each other, the same way we treat our Homeland because Homeland is land, and land has a human component. Unfortunately, it should be noted that we have more work to do there, we have more to do. Mutual respect is the most important thing we should have.
You know, every person is different: one is strong in one place, the other elsewhere and so on, but remember that there is never absolute strength and weakness. Someone may prove relatively weak in the army, but he may be much stronger in civilian life, in another situation. The weak should not be treated with disdain, because there is no weakness, a soldier cannot be weak; we need each other’s backing, and therefore we should treat each other that way.
Anyway, as the Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia, I will try to ensure that every day you feel my personal respect for each of you, for your parents; to feel that I am as much and equally concerned about your problems. I want you to feel my personal love for each of you, your parents, your path, but most importantly, your future, because the future is what we are formulating today. We determine the future by our actions today. Every act of every one of us, even the slightest act, has an impact on reality. And we create the reality that exists around us. And now the most important issue that I put before our armed forces is the following: The army should also be a very important place for education.
To my mind, the military have to deal with the most intellectual tasks, because there are military commanders who are legendary, and there are military commanders who have always won. How come a 5,000-strong army beats 25,000-strong troops? First of all it comes through the commander’s wisdom, and the troops’ dedication, skills and knowledge.
Today there is a lot of talk about the military balance in the region. Some say Azerbaijan has relative strengths. What do we say? First, we are naturally doing our utmost, today we saw state-of-the-art military hardware here; we have many other achievements that are off record, and we and will continue to boast such achievements, but what does history tell us? In 88, 90, 91 we were more prepared for war than Azerbaijan. Of course not. How many weapons did we have? Were we more prepared in 1918 at Sardarapat? We were actually unprepared at all, but we survived, we are sitting in Mataghis today as representatives of a victorious people, and we look into each other’s eyes and see the will of that victory, brought up by our past victories, and which nurtures our determination for future victories. : This is what we have to do, and I want to thank you all - the regular staff, the officer staff for your service. Your service is worthy and highly appreciated. I want to thank your families, because you need family support to be military.
And I want to thank all of your family members for your service, for your dedication, for your caring, for your strength, and I am asking you to convey my kind regards to your families.
The Prime Minister then handed gifts to prominent conscripts. In an interview with the Artsakh Public Television, Nikol Pashinyan noted that many positive changes are underway in the Armed Forces.
“You know that we have allocated over AMD 2 billion to improve our soldiers’ service conditions. A food and catering improvement program is currently underway, which is revolutionary in three ways: first, the quality of food; second, the soldier’s perception of how the government treats the soldier and his needs, and third – its social impact. As a result, parents no longer send as many food parcels as they used to before. This means that they are spending less now, which may have a social impact.
Next, I am happy about the acquisition of mew armament, and I can proudly state that we have made tangible achievements over the past year and a half. In this context, I attach great importance to military pensioners’ housing needs because the officers know that they are going to be pensioners tomorrow, and the government will never remove this issue from the agenda. On the contrary, we have an agreement with the Artsakh authorities that through joint efforts we should solve the housing problems of active officers by 2023.
In addition to armament, a great deal of automobile technology is being acquired today, many changes are being made and will continue to be made in terms of soldiers’ clothing and footwear. We have not yet achieved the quality we wanted, but there is a significant change. The soldier should never feel alone in his position. I mean everything: food, clothing, weaponry, infrastructure upgrades, and video surveillance systems. The positions are being supplied with drinking water, and that process is going to get momentum. True, all this is of technical importance, but I would like to highlight its content.
The Armed Forces, the Soldier, the Officer must feel that the Government and the nation in general stand by them every second, 24 hours, night and day, 12 months a year, and this will always be the case. And what matters most here is the change in thinking and approaches. I did not mention most importantly the increase in salaries in the armed forces, which is a drastic rise and cannot be considered a symbolic one.
I will go on and on answering your question, because this process is to be continued. The Armenian army will grow stronger every day, every week, every month, every year and every century. And so it will go on forever.”
* * *
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, who is in Stepanakert, had a meeting with President of the Artsakh Republic Bako Sahakyan.
The parties went over a wide range of issues related to cooperation between the governments of Armenia and Artsakh.
Issues related to the upcoming elections in Artsakh, and the need for holding free and transparent polls were highlighted during the meeting.