January 28, 2014 - 13:55 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Armenian Army celebrates its 22nd anniversary January 28.
The army was established in conjunction with the other components of Armenia's military in 1992, several months after the republic declared its independence from the Soviet Union. The army's first head was the former deputy commander-in-chief of the main staff of the Soviet Ground Forces, Norat Ter-Grigoryants.
The Armenian army's history is described to have gone through three stages of development. It entered the first stage in February 1988, at the outset of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict, when Armenian militias were formed to combat Azerbaijani units in NKR. The second phase of the development of the army began in 1992, several months after Armenia declared its independence from the Soviet Union. Ter-Grigoryants and civilian officials in the Armenian Ministry of Defense, including Vazgen Manukyan and Vazgen Sargsyan, sought to establish a "small, well-balanced, combat-ready defense force." The third phase began after the end of the war and continues till today, concentrating on the developing fighting capacity and boosting ties with the NKR defense army.
Armenian army became a guarantor of peace and stability in the South Caucasus, with Armenian soldiers trusted with peacekeeping missions in Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq. Over the last year, Armenian army units participated in over a dozen of military exercises in the frameworks of CSTO, NATO and Armenian-American military cooperation.
The London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies, IISS positively accessed Armenia's combat readiness level: "Armenian army is quite qualified and has clear-set objectives. Parallel to this, the Armed Forces of Armenia saw a steadily growing number of professional soldiers serving on a contract basis, although a call for military service remains. According to the 2013 report, the army is most vulnerable is its air forces, yet that is compensated by support from Russia, who protects Armenia’s air space.
"Today, our army enjoys the respect and high esteem all over the world," Armenia's Defense Minister said. As Seyran Ohanyan, a Karabakh war veteran himself, told a January 27 ceremonial sitting, 20 years ago the victorious ceasefire was achieved through unity and courage of Armenian people in the face of many hardships. "Glory and honor to our fallen heroes, those who fought till the end, those killed or missing. A memory of them will shine in our hearts to be passed on to generations. It is through their sacrifice that we won and created a strong army," he said.