A United Nations report has revealed that the Indian government-owned companies and private firms in the country have supplied $51 million (around Rs 421 crore) worth of arms, dual-use items and raw materials to the military junta in Myanmar following its takeover in February 2021.
The UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Myanmar, Tom Andrews, said that the junta and country-sanctioned arms dealers have imported $1 billion (about Rs 8,256 crore) worth of arms, equipment and material from various countries including India.
The report titled, “The Billion Dollar Death Trade: International Arms Networks that Enable Human Rights Violations in Myanmar”, said that UN member states were enabling this trade “either through outright complicity, lax enforcement of existing bans, and easily circumvented sanctions”.
Myanmar’s military seized power in a coup on February 01, 2021, after the Aung San Suu Kyi-led National League for Democracy won the November 2020 elections. The military has since cracked down on protests against the coup, drawing international condemnation.
In the report, Andrews said that 22 India-based “unique suppliers” shipped arms, dual-use items, manufacturing equipment and raw materials to the Myanmar military. Among the suppliers were state-owned entities such as Bharat Dynamics, Bharat Electronics and Yantra India and private companies such as Sandeep Metalcraft and Larsen & Toubro.
The report said that India’s continued supply of materials to Myanmar, which have been used in surveillance, artillery and missiles, could be considered a violation of customary international law and international humanitarian law. “India should therefore be aware that the arms it provides to the Myanmar military – though relatively limited – are likely to be used in the commission of international crime,” it added.
On its part, India told the UN rapporteur that the arms supplied to Myanmar were part of commitments made to the civilian government before the coup and were exported in light of New Delhi’s own domestic security concerns. “We consider what is in the interest of the people of Myanmar,” Indian representatives told Andrews, according to the report.
The UN rapporteur said that since the “illegal military coup”, the junta has killed at least 3,500 civilians, detained at least 22,000 political prisoners and forcibly displaced over 15 lakh citizens.
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