Myanmar’s Crisis & the World

Norwegian Fund Divests From Chinese, Indian Firms With Junta Ties

By The Irrawaddy 27 January 2023

The Norwegian sovereign wealth fund, the world’s largest, announced it has excluded two companies from China and India from its portfolio for selling weapons to the Myanmar junta.

The fund said it had divested from AviChina Industry & Technology and Bharat Electronics due to the “unacceptable risk that the companies are selling weapons to a state that uses these weapons in ways that constitute serious and systematic breaches of the international rules on the conduct of hostilities”.

“The background for the decision is sales of light airplanes and other military material respectively to the military in Myanmar,” said Norges Bank Investment Management, which manages the fund, adding that the decision was made based on recommendations issued by the fund’s Council on Ethics.

The council said that AviChina, a Chinese company that engages in the development and sale of aircraft and aviation products, delivered several K-8 light combat aircraft to the Myanmar military in December 2021.

Bharat Electronics, an Indian producer of aviation and defense electronics, delivered a remote-controlled weapons station to the Myanmar military in July 2021, it said.

The fund, valued at 13.2 trillion kroner (US$1.3 trillion) on Wednesday, owned 0.37 percent of the Chinese group and 0.32 percent of the Indian company at the end of 2021.

The fund, in which the Norwegian state’s oil revenues are placed, is one of the biggest investors in the world with stakes in more than 9,000 companies. The fund in December last year cut ties with Thai oil company PTT and its subsidiary PTTOR for having probable links to the Myanmar junta.

Myanmar has been in turmoil since the military staged a coup in February 2021, with swathes of the country engulfed by fighting.

More than 2,890 people have been killed by the junta’s forces since the coup. Rights groups say this includes massacres, mass extrajudicial killings, torturing prisoners to death, arson attacks and air strikes on civilians.