A deal by a Canadian company to export armoured personnel carriers to Azerbaijan and set up a joint production of these military-style vehicles in the oil-rich former Soviet republic is once again raising questions about the efficacy of Canada’s defence export controls.
According to Cbc.ca, Toronto-based INKAS Armored Vehicle Manufacturing has signed a deal with Azerbaijan’s interior ministry under which the company has already delivered “a few” Canadian-made armoured personnel carriers (APCs).
The privately owned company has also set up a joint venture with an Azerbaijani firm to produce APCs in Azerbaijan, which has been embroiled in a simmering armed conflict with neighbouring Armenia since the breakup of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, said Roman Shimonov, vice-president of marketing and business development at INKAS.
“Azerbaijan is a very unique country in terms of geographic location, in terms of geopolitical challenges, because they are in the middle between Iran and Armenia and Turkey,” said Shimonov, who has also been appointed CEO of the joint venture AZCAN Defence Solutions. “And they have resources, more resources than other countries, and they are looking to be able to have more solutions in terms of defence — and not only defence, they’re looking to protect their borders.”
Shimonov said the company has fully complied with all the government rules for the export of military goods.
“We cannot sell anything without getting a written permit from export control and once we get it, we know that our authorities, our Canadian authorities, have checked and they have approved,” Shimonov said.
Global Affairs Canada, the federal department responsible for issuing export permits for military and controlled goods, said “all applications for permits to export dual-use, military and strategic goods are assessed on a case-by-case basis, based on the specific goods and technology being exported, the destination country, and the specific end-use and end-user, amongst other criteria.”
“Regional peace and stability, including civil conflict and human rights, as well as the possibility of unauthorized transfer or diversion of the exported goods and technology, are actively considered,” said Global Affairs spokesperson Natasha Nystrom.