Since the military regime seized power in Myanmar in February 2021, companies in India — including state-owned enterprises — have shipped weapons, raw materials and other military supplies worth at least $51 million.
A UN report released last week revealed that a total of 22 suppliers based in India had shipped arms to Myanmar during the military’s crackdown on the protests. Among its suppliers are state-owned enterprises, including Bharat Dynamics, Bharat Electronics and Yantra India, as well as private companies Sandeep Metalcraft and Larsen & Toubro.
The report said that material supplies from India to Myanmar have been used for surveillance as well as to increase stockpiles of artillery and missiles. This could be seen as a violation of international humanitarian law. Apart from India, the countries of Russia, China, Singapore and Thailand also supplied military equipment worth a total of about USD 1 billion to the Myanmar regime, the report said.
“That is because sanctions are not sufficiently enforced and because arms dealers linked to the regime have been able to create shell companies to circumvent them,” said Tom Andrews, the UN special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar.
In its detailed report, the United Nations accused weapons manufacturer Yantra India Limited of sending 122mm caliber weapons to Myanmar last October. The $330,000 worth of arms supplies were sent to Yangon-based Innovative Industrial Technologies Company Limited, which is owned by a Myanmar military arms broker.
India’s ambiguous engagement with Myanmar
Myanmar’s pro-democracy leaders and activists expressed surprise at India’s attitude of aiding and supporting the military regime with weapons shipments.
“India, as the largest democracy in the region, continues its counterproductive policy of engaging with the military junta, which is not a reliable partner for India and does not serve India’s interests even in the short term,” Zaw Tuseng, director of the Myanmar Policy Institute, told DW.
Moe Zaw Oo, deputy foreign minister of the National Unity Government of Myanmar NUG, said he was shocked to learn that India was supplying weapons to the Myanmar military. The NUG is a government-in-exile formed by elected representatives and members of ethnic minority groups.
“The people of Myanmar will remember that, and it will impact the long-term relationship between the two countries. The government of India should seriously consider the will and will of our people over shortsighted business interests,” Moe Zaw Oo told DW.
According to Sui Khar, leader of the CNF Chin National Front, India sees Chinese influence in Myanmar as a threat.
“Therefore, (India) is trying to forge good relations with the misplaced military junta. It will not work. The Tatmadaw (Myanmar’s ruling military junta) is not the only stakeholder in the country, and the sooner New Delhi realizes this this, it will be better,” Sui Khar told DW.
Thousands of fighters from Chin state and Sagaing region have joined the armed struggle and put up fierce resistance against the Myanmar military over the last two years.
“People’s rights are being destroyed. New Delhi should consider the moral and ethical implications of the transfer and sale of such weapons,” Salai Isaac Khen, former minister of Chin state, told DW.
India denies being Myanmar’s main source of weapons
The Indian representative told UN rapporteur Tom Andrews that the weapons being supplied to Myanmar were part of commitments made to the civilian administration before the coup, and were exported in light of New Delhi’s own domestic security issues.
“India has never been, nor will it be, a major source of arms to Myanmar, and India has fulfilled our obligations in the past. Our exports are strictly scrutinized. We consider what is in the interests of the people of Myanmar,” India’s representative to the United Nations said, according to the report. the.
There are an estimated 1,704,000 total internally displaced persons in Myanmar as of early March 2023, according to UN figures. At least 2,940 civilians have been killed by Myanmar authorities, according to the Independent Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, a watchdog group that tracks killings and arrests. Another 17,572 people have been arrested since February 2021, with 13,763 of them still behind bars.
Source : Detik News