India Supplied Arms Worth ₹422 Crore to Myanmar Junta, UN Report Reveals
A recent report by the United Nations (UN) has unveiled that Indian government-owned companies and private firms in the country supplied arms, dual-use items, and raw materials worth ₹422 crore (approximately $51 million) to the military junta in Myanmar. The report, titled “The Billion Dollar Death Trade: International Arms Networks that Enable Human Rights Violations in Myanmar,” highlights the involvement of UN member states in facilitating this trade, which directly contributes to human rights violations in Myanmar.
This article delves into the key findings of the report and explores the implications for India
- Arms Trade with Myanmar Junta: The report reveals that following the military junta’s takeover of Myanmar in February 2021, the junta and country-sanctioned arms dealers imported arms, equipment, and material worth $1 billion (about ₹8,256 crore) from various countries, including Russia, China, Singapore, Thailand, and India. India’s contribution amounted to ₹422 crore, supplied by 22 unique Indian suppliers. These suppliers include state-owned entities such as Bharat Dynamics, Bharat Electronics, and Yantra India, as well as private companies like Sandeep Metalcraft and Larsen & Toubro.
- Violation of International Law: The UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Myanmar, Tom Andrews, raises concerns about the implications of India’s continued supply of materials to Myanmar. The report suggests that the supplied items, used in surveillance, artillery, and missiles, could potentially violate customary international law and international humanitarian law. It warns that India’s provision of arms to the Myanmar military, although relatively limited, could be associated with the commission of international crimes.
- India’s Defense: Indian authorities responded to the UN rapporteur, stating that the arms supplied to Myanmar were part of commitments made to the civilian government before the coup. They argued that the exports were carried out in consideration of India’s own domestic security concerns. Indian representatives emphasized that they prioritize the interests of the people of Myanmar in their decision-making process.
- Complicity and International Condemnation: The report criticizes UN member states for enabling this “Billion Dollar Death Trade” through complicity, lax enforcement of existing bans, and easily circumvented sanctions. Myanmar’s military coup has led to severe repercussions, including the killing of at least 3,500 civilians, the detention of over 22,000 political prisoners, and the forced displacement of more than 1.5 million citizens. The international community, including India, has condemned the military crackdown on protests and human rights violations.
Myanmar’s Major Arms Suppliers: Among the countries supplying arms to the junta, Russia has the highest import value at over $406 million (about ₹3,352 crore), followed by China at $267 million (around ₹2,204 crore), and Singapore at $254 million (over ₹2,096 crore). The UN report sheds light on the extensive global network facilitating the arms trade with Myanmar, thereby exacerbating the human rights crisis in the country.
About Myanmar, Key points
Currency: Burmese Kyat (MMK)
Location: Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) is located in Southeast Asia. It shares borders with Bangladesh, India, China, Laos, and Thailand. It has a coastline along the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea.
Current Situation: Myanmar has been facing a complex and challenging situation in recent years. In February 2021, the military staged a coup and overthrew the democratically elected government led by Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy (NLD) party. The coup has led to widespread protests and civil disobedience movements across the country.