Indian Arms Exporter Ships Air-Defense Weapons to Myanmar’s Junta

By The Irrawaddy 8 October 2021

Indian arms manufacturer Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL) exported a remote-controlled, air-defense station to Myanmar in July, said Justice for Myanmar (JFM), an activist group that monitors the military’s businesses.

The shipment was made through Mega Hill General Trading Co based in Myanmar, said JFM, citing Panjiva, a global trade data company based in New York.

According to Panjiva, the shipment included a gun mount and an optical device.

The BEL has made multiple shipments to Myanmar’s military for a coastal surveillance system since the Feb. 1 coup.

The listed value for the air-defense shipment is over US$600,000 (1.2 billion kyats) and was probably purchased as a test run, potentially leading to a larger future purchase.

“The shipment was made with full knowledge that the item can aid and abet” the military’s ongoing atrocities, JFM reported.

In June, India abstained from voting on a UN General Assembly resolution calling for a ban on arms sales to Myanmar.

BEL’s majority shareholder is the Indian government, which holds a stake of over 51 percent. Its biggest international shareholders include the Indian subsidiary of the Nippon Life Insurance Company with holdings worth $250 million and Goldman Sachs Asset Management with $235 million, according to company listings.

The JFM said BEL has not responded to questions on its ongoing arms supplies to Myanmar’s military.

BEL’s July shipment was sent to Mega Hill which has a history of procuring technology and providing services to the military’s Directorate of Procurement, according to JFM.

According to leaked documents and the company’s website, Mega Hill has procured or attempted to procure items for Myanmar’s navy.

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