State-owned arms company Yantra India Limited has shipped multiple 122mm barrels to the Myanmar military in October 2022 in likely breach of international law, a Justice For Myanmar investigation has found.
The 122mm barrels appear to be for howitzers that are produced in Myanmar by the Office of the Chief of Defence Industries (OCDI), also known as the Directorate of Defence Industries, a unit of the military that is sanctioned by the US, UK, EU and Canada.
The barrels were sent to a company owned by the Myanmar military arms broker, Kyaw Kyaw Htun, who Justice For Myanmar previously exposed for importing fuzes from the Indian company Sandeep Metalcraft to be used by the Myanmar military for the detonation of munitions. Kyaw Kyaw Htun and his network not yet been sanctioned.
Yantra India Limited is an official public sector undertaking operating under the Department of Defence Production of the Indian Ministry of Defence. Yantra’s exports of 122mm barrels to Myanmar follows several other known exports of weapons and weapon components from Indian companies after the Myanmar military’s attempted coup, including a remote controlled weapon station from the majority state-owned company, Bharat Electronics Limited.
Since the military’s illegal coup attempt, the junta has murdered protesters, shelled villages and conducted indiscriminate airstrikes, killing more than 3,000 people and displacing over 1.2 million. The latest shipment comes as the military junta continues to commit war crimes and crimes against humanity, including with howitzers.
The Myanmar army has recently been recorded firing 122mm howitzer rounds into civilian areas. For example, on 6 December 2022, the military fired rounds from a 122mm howitzer to the outskirts of Namsai Hkahku in Hpakant Township, Kachin State. On 13 December 2022, 122mm howitzer rounds were fired in Bhamo Township, Kachin State.
The fact that Yantra India Ltd is a fully state-owned company, coupled with the fact that Indian arms manufacturing companies have continued to supply weapons after the attempted coup, show India’s serious disregard for international humanitarian law and norms of conduct contained in the Wassenaar Arrangement.
Justice For Myanmar calls on India to immediately impose an arms embargo on the Myanmar military junta, which is a terrorist organisation under Myanmar law and as defined in international law, and cease all training and other military support.
Justice For Myanmar spokesperson Yadanar Maung says: "India is directly supporting the junta’s indiscriminate attacks against civilians by allowing the export of barrels that that the junta will use in its continued gross violations of international law.
“As a democracy and a neighbour of Myanmar, we appeal to the Indian government to stand with the people of Myanmar, not war criminals and their illegitimate junta.
“India must immediately stop arming the Myanmar military junta and uphold its obligations under international humanitarian law.
“We urge fellow members of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (the Quad), Australia, Japan and the USA, to use their influence to stop the flow of arms from India to the Myanmar military.
“It is disappointing that Kyaw Kyaw Htun and his network has not been sanctioned, despite clear evidence of their complicity in the junta’s war crimes and crimes against humanity through the brokering of arms and surveillance equipment.
“We call for urgent sanctions against Kyaw Kyaw Htun, his businesses and associates, along with all other enablers of the junta.”
Read our investigation into Yantra India Limited’s export of gun barrels here