New Delhi [India], May 19 (ANI): Amid border tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Wednesday said India is closely following the situation and called upon the transgressing side to pull back forces and cease further provocation.
In an official statement, MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said India has always stood for a peaceful resolution of bilateral disputes through political and diplomatic means.
"We have been following, with concern, the situation along the Armenia-Azerbaijan border. Border incursions through military movements can destabilize the situation and lead to renewed hostilities. We call upon the transgressing side to pull back forces immediately and cease any further provocation," he said.
"India has always stood for peaceful resolution of bilateral disputes through political and diplomatic means. Peace and stability in the South Caucasus region is important from the regional security perspective," Bagchi added.
Last week, the Armenian Defense Ministry claimed that the Azerbaijani armed forces carried out what it deemed were provocative actions in one of the border areas of its Syunik region, Sputnik reported.
The Armenian leadership on Friday announced an appeal to the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) on the issue. The Azerbaijani side, in turn, has since maintained that it deployed border forces "in the usual mode and in a systematic manner" and did not violate Armenia's territorial integrity.
Earlier today, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov proposed Moscow's mediation of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border demarcation talks through the effort of a special joint commission, Sputnik reported.
Last year, tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan escalated when both sides clashed on the line of contact in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region on September 27.
The sides have accused each other of starting the firing. The international community strongly condemned the escalation and called on parties to settle the differences via dialogue, while Turkey had pledged its full support for Azerbaijan.
A ceasefire statement was signed by the leaders of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia on November 10, ending the 1.5-month fighting in the Armenian-populated enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh within Azerbaijan. The agreement resulted in the loss of some territories controlled by the Armenian-majority self-proclaimed Republic of Artsakh and the deployment of 1,960 Russian peacekeepers to the region, according to Sputnik.
Relations between the former Soviet republics have been tense since 1991 when the Armenian military occupied Nagorno-Karabakh, also known as Upper Karabakh, a territory recognized as part of Azerbaijan, and seven adjacent regions. (ANI)