HAL denies dealings with Myanmar junta; calls UNHRC-SIPRI report 'factually incorrect' -

HAL denies dealings with Myanmar junta; calls UNHRC-SIPRI report ‘factually incorrect’

India’s leading aeronautics public sector undertaking, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), has denied of any dealings with Myanmar junta.

More than 500 civilians have been killed in Myanmar military’s crackdown on protesters. The junta’s campaign against the anti-coup movement has attracted condemnation by world powers.

A UNHRC report by an independent international fact-finding mission on Myanmar and Stockholm International Peace & Research Institute (SIPRI) Arms Transfers Database has claimed that the Indian aerospace and defence company had business dealings with Myanmar defence forces and described HAL as one of the major suppliers to the Myanmar military from 2017-19.

Calling the report “factually incorrect,” an HAL spokesperson said, “HAL has had no business dealings with Myanmar defence forces from 2017-2019. In fact, HAL did not have any business dealing even after 2019 with Myanmar till date.”

Bilateral relations between New Delhi and Myanmar has been on positive trajectory, as the two neighbours  share a 725km maritime boundary in the Bay of Bengal. In a bid to counter growing Chinese influence in Southeast Asia, India has recently delivered a kilo-class submarine to Myanmar.

From torpedoes to rocket launchers, mortars, assault rifles, radars, communication sets to road construction equipment like dozers, there are quite a few items in the list of India’s export to Myanmar armed forces. Moreover, Indian Army regularly launches coordinated operations against militant outfits like NSCN and ULFA, along with coordinated patrolling with Myanmar forces along the porous 1,643km land border. In June 2015, Indian para-commandos had conducted a cross border raid against two insurgent camps insides jungles of Myanmar after 18 Indian soldiers were killed in an ambush in the Chandel district of Manipur.

Besides HAL, Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL), and Hindustan Shipyard Limited (HSL) too have defence relations with Myanmar apart from other Indian private players.

Adani Group too denied engaging with Myanmar’s military leadership over a port deal after a report by a human rights organisation said the group paid $30 million to the military-controlled Myanmar Economic Corporation in “land lease fees”.

The Australian Centre for International Justice and Justice for Myanmar had, on Tuesday, said in a report that Adani Yangon International Terminal Co Ltd paid up $30 million in land lease fees to Myanmar Economic Corporation, controlled by Myanmar’s military, reported Reuters. 

“In 2019, the government of India hosted the Myanmar general Min Aung Hlaing and Mundra Port was only one such location out of the multiple sites on this visit… The Yangon International Terminal project is “fully owned and developed” by APSEZ,” Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone (APSEZ) had said in a statement. 

“We are watching the situation in Myanmar carefully and will engage with the relevant authorities and stakeholders to seek their advice…,” a spokesperson from Adani Ports said.

The UNHRC, in its report titled ‘The economic interests of the Myanmar military’, claimed that HAL had delivered second-hand trainer aircraft in 2018 and Bharat Dynamics Limited provided anti-submarine torpedoes to the Myanmar Navy following an agreement reached in March 2017, reportedly worth $38 million.

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