JFM Accuses India of Complicity in Myanmar Junta War Crimes

By The Irrawaddy 1 March 2023

The Indian government has been accused of collaboration in Myanmar junta’s atrocities against its people because of its exports of artillery barrels to the regime.

On Wednesday, the campaign and rights group Justice for Myanmar (JFM) reported that Indian state-owned Yantra India Limited shipped multiple 122mm barrels to Myanmar’s junta in October 2022.

Yantra India is an official public sector company that runs operations under the Department of Defence Production at the Indian defense ministry.

The shipment probably breached international law, the rights group said.

Since the coup in February 2021, the regime has used airstrikes, shelling and arson attacks on residential areas killing large numbers of civilians while it is struggling to crush a growing resistance movement.

Houses destroyed by junta shelling on a residential ward of Mobye in Pekon Township, southern Shan State, in September 2022. / PKPF

The artillery barrels were sent to a company owned by a regime arms broker, Kyaw Kyaw Htun, who has been investigated for importing fuses from the Indian company Sandeep Metalcraft to be used by the junta for the detonation of ammunition, JFM said.

It added that the junta’s arms broker and his network have not been sanctioned yet.

JFM said in its statement that the barrels appear to be used for howitzers that are produced in Myanmar by the Chief of Defence Industries (OCDI), a military unit that has been sanctioned by the United States, United Kingdom, European Union and Canada.

The exporting of 122mm barrels to Myanmar by Yantra India follows several other known exports of weapons and weapons components from Indian companies after the 2021 coup.

Bharat Electronics Limited, a majority state-owned Indian company, exported a remote-controlled weapons station to the regime, the report said.

In December the junta fired 122mm howitzers on civilian areas in Hpakant and Bhamo townships in Kachin State.

JFM said the state-owned weapons manufacturer has continued to supply weapons to the junta since the coup. It showed India’s serious disregard for international humanitarian law and norms of conduct contained in the 1996 Wassenaar Arrangement.

JFM called on the Indian government to impose an arms embargo on the junta, a terrorist organization under Myanmar and international law and to cease all training and other cooperation.

“India is directly supporting the junta’s indiscriminate attacks against civilians by allowing the export of barrels that the junta will use in its continued gross violations of international law,” said Yadanar Maung of the JFM.

She added: “As a democracy and a neighbor of Myanmar, we appeal to the Indian government to stand with the people of Myanmar, not war criminals and their illegitimate junta.”

The rights group also urged fellow members of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (the Quad), Australia, Japan and the US, to use their influence to stop the flow of arms from India to the regime.

JFM said it is disappointing that arms broker Kyaw Kyaw Htun and his network have not been sanctioned amid clear evidence of complicity in junta war crimes and crimes against humanity through the brokering of arms and surveillance equipment for the junta.

By Tuesday, 3,071 people had been killed by the junta and 19,936, including elected leaders, have been detained since the coup, said the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners that monitors deaths and arrests.