"Of course, we had to be very active in mobilizing our resources in a short time, even during the course of operations – both human and technical resources. I must say that during these 44 days we formed another army corps. We did that in a short time – the mobilization of the personnel of this corps was carried out in a matter of two days. They were also provided with all the necessary weapons and equipment," said Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev in his interview with Russia's “Nasionalnaya oborona” magazine, while responding to the question War is always a test of the strength of the entire system of the state, government, the resolve of the people. It is no secret that when a part of Azerbaijan’s territories was under occupation for many decades, Azerbaijan was preparing for this war. Could you describe the course of those political, economic and other transformations in Azerbaijan, which made it possible to build up the military potential that ultimately helped your country to win?, APA reports.
"We did that in a short time – the mobilization of the personnel of this corps was carried out in a matter of two days. They were also provided with all the necessary weapons and equipment. We also mobilized our technical capabilities, which allowed us the opportunity to conduct counter-offensive activities with greater effect. A lot was done to ensure the safety of the population who lived close to the contact zone. We had hundreds of thousands of people living in those areas, and they were under the daily shelling of Armenian artillery. Therefore, a partial evacuation of the population was also carried out. Although I must say that the bulk of the inhabitants of these villages and cities remained in their homes and said that they would not leave their lands anywhere. Naturally, we had been working for a long time to strengthen our potential, primarily to secure ensure economic independence. Because without that we would have been dependent on some financial investments or credit resources and, naturally, could not afford to modernize the armed forces. Therefore, practically from the first day of my tenure as President, we began work on securing economic independence. I think we achieved it in about six to seven years. By 2010, Azerbaijan was already fully capable of pursuing an independent economic policy, implementing reforms and investing heavily in infrastructure.
Of course, the modernization of the armed forces in terms of the purchase of modern models of military equipment proceeded at a rapid pace. This data has always been published, it is in the public domain, and everyone knew how much of what we were buying and from whom. And, of course, a lot of day-to-day work was carried out to increase the combat effectiveness of the armed forces. It is well known that no matter what technical capabilities a country may possess, it would be impossible to win a battle, let alone a war, without efficient armed forces, especially in such unfavorable geographic conditions. In essence, it was a combination of all these measures that led to the fact that we created a very powerful military component, and the second Karabakh war showed this. We had also demonstrated our capabilities, albeit in a very limited manner, during the hostilities in April 2016, when a part of the occupied territories was liberated and we gave the Armenian side the opportunity to make an important decision on de-occupation. Unfortunately, when we stopped, our actions were misinterpreted by the Armenian side, and they paid for that. We also demonstrated our capabilities to conduct bloodless operations, so to speak, during the operation on the border of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic and Armenia in May 2018. Therefore, we knew our potential, we knew what we were capable of doing and, naturally, we soberly assessed, in contrast to the Armenian side, the capabilities of the enemy and tried to use the levers of influence in order to force Armenia to vacate the occupied territories of its own free will. And all my calls to international institutions to impose sanctions on Armenia had this goal. Because if this had happened, Armenia would have been forced to leave the occupied territories and the war would not have happened. Unfortunately, this did not happen. In the period leading up to the war, the Armenian leadership had switched to open provocations. The statements of the Armenian leadership that Karabakh is Armenia and full stop actually meant a withdrawal from the negotiating process. The statement of the Armenian minister of defense, which he made in America, that Armenia was preparing for a new war for new territories was an open threat and a demonstration of disregard for the fundamental norms of common sense and international law. Therefore, everything was leading to that. We can look at the chronology preceding the start of hostilities – July, when a provocation was perpetrated on the state border and our civilians and military personnel were killed, August, when a sabotage group was sent here but was neutralized in Goranboy district, and September, which everyone already knows about," noted the President.