India: overt and covert supplier of arms and ammunition

India is supplying arms to international pariahs

India claims to be the world’s greatest democracy. But its shiny face is caricatured by its overt and covert support to terrorist groups or to the military junta in Myanmar.

During a European-mandated investigation by Conflict Armaments Research, a cache of made-in-India-2012 Improvised-explosive-devices (IEDs) was discovered at Kobane in Syria and Kirkuk and Erbil in Iraq. It contained detonators, fuses, electrical cords, and other accessories, besides mobile phones for remote-controlled IEDs.

Indian companies hoodwinked customs checkpoints to deliver IED components to the Islamic State. The Pulwama IED also was indigenous. It is eerie that there was no international hullabaloo in the international media about this shocking discovery.

Indian media downplayed the shocking discovery. For instance, Hindustan Times OF 26 February 2016 reported `Indian firms have emerged as a leading, but unintentional, source of components used by the Islamic State terror group to fabricate improvised explosive devices… The report names seven companies from India as the source of detonating cords and detonators, only the second largest supplier by country of origin after Turkey…But the report was unequivocally clear that these supplies were not intended for IS, and were not delivered directly to the terrorist group or to its known fronts or allies.… All components documented by the Central Asian Republics were legally exported under government-issued licences from India to entities in Lebanon and Turkey.  The companies, identified by the report, are not being named here because they did not do business with the IS directly, intentionally or knowingly’! International community made no effort to map INI-IS bypass route, or identify Indians by name.

In US eyes, Pakistan is the bête noire that sabotaged US policy in Afghanistan. The bitter truth is that India has no border with Afghanistan. Yet it created its own brand of mujahideen belonging to the Northern Alliance. India not only provided multi-faceted aid to the Alliance but even trained Northern Alliance fighters. The support involved helicopters, ordnance, mortars, small armaments, refurbished Kalashnikovs seized in Kashmir, combat and winter clothes, packaged food, medicines, and funds. These supplies were delivered circuitously with the help of other countries (like Tajikistan) or through Massoud’s brother Wali in London.

India opened four consulates at Kandahar, Jalalabad, Herat and Mazar-e-Sharif, besides its embassy at Kabul. It pampered   Ahmad Shah Massoud as its protégé for use on the Afghan chessboard as and when circumstances allowed. India is still using these consulates to stoke up secessionist movements in Balochistan and the volatile tribal belt.

The way India hastily vacated its consulates in Afghanistan portends that India would take such steps as would offend the nascent Taliban 2.0 government.

India too trained Afghan Northern Alliance fighters. India’s ambassador Bharath Raj Muthu Kumar, with the consent of then Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh, coordinated military and medical assistance that India was secretly giving to Ahmad Shah Massoud and his forces in Afghanistan.

India calls Pakistan the epicentre of terrorism. And India’s attitude reflects ‘the pot calling the kettle black’. By supplying arms to the military junta in Myanmar and the Islamic State, India has qualified itself as a rogue state. It should be classified as such by the UN, and be subjected to punitive international sanctions.

East Pakistan, now Bangladesh, was not a disputed territory. It was an integral part of Pakistan. But, India harboured, nurtured, trained and armed Bengali ‘freedom fighters’ on Indian soil.

RAW’s cover officers, including RK Yadav and B. Raman, make no bones about India’s involvement in Bangladesh’s insurgency. They admitted that India’s prime minister Indira Gandhi, Parliament, RAW and the armed forces acted in tandem to dismember Pakistan. Raman reminds us that the Indian Parliament passed a resolution on 31 March 1971, to support the insurgency.

Indira Gandhi had then confided with RAW chief R.N.Kao that in case Sheikh Mujib was prevented ruling Pakistan, she would liberate East Pakistan from the clutches of the military junta.

India, the world’s largest democracy, has nurtured closer relations with Myanmar’s military junta over the past two years, including providing weapons at least four times since the 2021 coup d’etat,

India is keeping close ties with the pariah military junta in Myanmar. India supplies sophisticated weapons to Myanmar. The supplies include radar technology, air defence systems, automatic rifles and air defence systems sold to the junta despite rampant human-rights abuses

An Indian company, Sandeep Metalcraft, sold Myanmar fuses for ammunition for the Carl Gustaf recoilless rifle. The Myanmar military used 84mm Carl Gustaf rounds during attacks in non-Bomar ethnic areas.

Last year, heavy artillery weapons, detonators for bombs and thermal imaging devices used with automatic rifles and scopes were sold.  As an expression of solidarity with the junta, Indian Ambassador Vinay Kumar attended the military council’s Independence Day ceremony.

The report from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights also noted that an Indian state-owned enterprise supplied a remote-controlled weapons air defence station.

In 2022, India’s Tonbo Imaging delivered telescopes used in automatic and sniper rifles. And last March, Indian company Sandeep Metalcraft delivered fuses to be used in bombs and grenades by Myanmar’s military.

“India’s supply of fuses to the Myanmar military is inexcusable,” India is directly supporting the junta’s indiscriminate attacks against civilians by allowing the export of key components in the very weapons the military is using to commit war crimes and crimes against humanity.”

Of course, another factor is that India must keep the junta from drawing too close with China, Salai Ceu Bik Thaw said.

India calls Pakistan the epicentre of terrorism. And India’s attitude reflects ‘the pot calling the kettle black’. By supplying arms to the military junta  in Myanmar and the Islamic State, India has qualified itself as a rogue state. It should be classified as such by the UN, and  be subjected to punitive international sanctions.

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Amjed Jaaved
Amjed Jaaved
The writer is a freelance journalist, has served in the Pakistan government for 39 years and holds degrees in economics, business administration, and law. He can be reached at [email protected]

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