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Indian state-owned arms company exported over $5 million in equipment to Myanmar military in 6 months to April 2023, supporting terror campaign

June 21st, 2023  •  Author:   Justice For Myanmar  •  5 minute read
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Justice For Myanmar calls on India’s Quad partners and other allies to use their leverage to pressure India to stop the supply of arms and dual use goods and technology to the Myanmar military junta.

A Justice For Myanmar investigation of Indian export records has revealed over US$5 million in new exports to the Myanmar military and its arms brokers from Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) in the six months from November 2022 to April 2023.

The shipments consisted of military end-use goods, technology and technical documents to be used by the Myanmar military.

Items included metallic sonar domes, transducers and gaskets for the domes to be used on frigates, warships or submarines; directing gear systems; various items for radio transmission or radar equipment; and manpack radios for battlefield communications.

BEL, which maintains a branch office in Myanmar, transferred the equipment knowing that the Myanmar military is the end user, and that it is committing ongoing war crimes and crimes against humanity with total impunity.

Through its campaign of terror against the people, the Myanmar military junta has so far murdered over 3,600, arbitrarily arrested 23,300 more, committed indiscriminate airstrikes and shelling, torture, sexual violence and displaced at least 1.5 million.

The shipments may aid and abet the junta’s international crimes and are a continuation of India’s flagrant disregard for its obligations under international human rights and humanitarian law and its commitments under the Wassenaar Arrangement.

India and the Myanmar military have long-standing ties. In his speech on 25 December 2022, war criminal and junta head Min Aung Hlaing stated a need for large warships with high combat capabilities and the training of navy officers to operate them, noting that naval officers had been sent to other countries, including India, to enhance their individual capabilities.

The USA and France, which are honouring Prime Minister Narendra Modi in state visits this year, have a particular responsibility to address India’s support for the junta, and to push for India to impose an arms embargo on Myanmar.

BEL’s exports to Myanmar during the six-month period were spread across seven shipments, with three being sent to the Myanmar military directly, three sent to the arms brokers Mega Hill General Trading, and one sent to Alliance Engineering Services.

Alliance Engineering Services is connected to the family of the junta’s former air force chief Maung Maung Kyaw.

Mega Hill General Trading is a private Myanmar military contractor that has a history of procuring technology and providing services to the army’s Directorate of Procurement, including a remote-controlled weapon station supplied by BEL in 2021 and exposed by Justice For Myanmar.

Justice For Myanmar also exposed BEL’s supply of a coastal surveillance system to the Myanmar military before and after its illegal coup attempt.

Justice For Myanmar calls for urgent targeted sanctions against Mega Hill General Trading, Alliance Engineering Services, their associated business, directors and shareholders.

BEL is 51.14% owned by the Indian government and is publicly listed. Other shareholders include Nippon Life India Asset Management, Goldman Sachs, Vanguard, BlackRock, Fidelity, Canada Pension Plan, California Public Employees’ Retirement System, California State Teachers Retirement System, Caisse de Depot et Placement du Quebec and the Swedish pension funds, AP-fonden (AP1), Andra AP-fonden (AP2) and Sjunde AP-fonden (AP7).

BEL’s institutional shareholders should divest from the company because of its continued supply of dual use goods and technology to the Myanmar military, in line with their international human rights responsibilities.

Justice For Myanmar spokesperson Yadanar Maung says: “The Indian government and its state-owned arms companies are continuing business as usual in Myanmar, equipping and profiting from the junta as it commits acts of terror against the people.

“These new and significant exports to Myanmar from Bharat Electronics Limited make India further complicit in the junta’s ongoing war crimes and crimes against humanity.

“By selling arms and equipment to the junta, India is choosing to ignore the voices of the Myanmar people, the legitimate National Unity Government, civil society, UN resolutions and its responsibilities under international law.

“It is crucial that India’s Quad partners and other allies step up and start using their leverage to stop India’s abhorrent support for the junta.

“The Biden administration is this week honouring Prime Minister Narendra Modi with a state visit to the White House.

“We urge President Biden and his government to push Prime Minister Modi to immediately stop all shipments of arms and dual use goods and technology to the Myanmar junta.

“The US should impose conditions on military aid to India to help end Indian support for the junta.

“President Macron should raise India’s complicity in the junta’s international crimes when Modi makes a state visit to Paris in July, and push India to impose an arms embargo on Myanmar.”

More information:

Read our latest investigation into BEL’s exports to the Myanmar military here

Read our 2021 investigation into BEL and Mega Hill General Trading here

Read our 2021 investigation into BEL’s coastal surveillance system here

Read our other reports into Indian arms transfers for the junta here and here

Read our joint statement on Thales’ indirect support for the Myanmar military through BEL here


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