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Will India face the impact of US sanctions on Myanmar military companies?

An Australian human rights lawyers collective have claimed that the Adani Group is financially involved with one of the companies

Sabrangindia 31 Mar 2021

Myanmar violence

While the government of India is yet to make a comment on the issue, questions are being raised if a major impact will soon be felt here after the United States imposed sanctions on two Myanmar military companies. According to multiple media reports an Australian human rights lawyers collective have claimed that Adani Group is financially involved with one of the companies. It was reported by The Tribune that the US sanctioned Myanmar Economic Corporation (MEC) last week as it was “a vital financial lifeline” for the “Junta which has overthrown the elected government and killed hundreds of unarmed protesters”. The Australian lawyers’ report has claimed that Adani is paying about Rs 2,500 crore to MEC. According to the Australian Centre for International Justice (ACIJ) and the Justice for Myanmar group there is documentation that revealed that the money was provided to MEC which “stands credibly accused and is being investigated at the ICC and ICJ for crimes against humanity”.

According to news reports the “intention is to pressure Canberra into dumping its investment in Adani Ports, which also owns North Queensland operations linked to Carmichael coal mine”. The Australian lawyers and activists also want sovereign wealth funds and pension funds to stop investing in Adani Group on ethical grounds. However, the Adani Ports spokesperson has denied the allegation saying, “The Yangon project is independent with no joint venture partners. We are watching the situation carefully and will engage with relevant authorities and stakeholders to seek their advice for the way forward.”

The Australian ABC news has reported that even though the Adani group denies engaging with Myanmar’s military leadership over the port deal a “video suggests otherwise”. It reported that the Adani Group is paying up to $US52 million ($68.1 million) to a Myanmar military-controlled company. This firm has now “been slapped with sanctions by the United States over human rights violations.” According to this news report, the activists have said that a video and photos show that Adani Ports' boss met with the Junta's top general in 2019, thus contradicting the company's claim last month that it had never "engaged with military leadership" in Myanmar. It added that “leaked documents, from the Yangon Region Investment Commission, show Adani's subsidiary is paying $US30 million to MEC in "land lease fees".”

According to the ABC news the report’s author and ACIJ human rights lawyer Rawan Arraf has said the documents were leaked "shortly after the violent February 1 coup perpetrated by senior general Min Aung Hlaing and his cartel of the Myanmar military". She is quoted by ABC saying, “These documents reveal in particular is the amount that was provided to the MEC, a Myanmar military conglomerate that is controlled and owned by the Myanmar military [which] stands credibly accused and is being investigated at the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice for crimes against humanity, war crimes, and even in the case of the crimes against the Rohingya, genocide." She added, "Adani has been put on notice several times publicly, and they've refused to disengage from their Myanmar deal with [MEC] and that's a real problem. This money indirectly could be financing the Myanmar military to conduct international crimes." 

Australian lawyer Chris Sidoti who was a member of a 2019 United Nations fact-finding mission to Myanmar, which warned foreign companies against doing business with MEC and named Adani Ports as one of those engaged with the military conglomerate, was also quoted as saying, "The question for investors in Adani is whether they want to fund the operations of the Myanmar military, because that is what they are doing indirectly by investing in Adani.”

Meanwhile, this report also quoted a “spokeswoman” for Adani Ports who reportedly said the company was "watching the situation in Myanmar carefully and will engage with the relevant authorities and stakeholders to seek their advice on the way forward". Soon after Myanmar's coup, the Adani Group had issued a statement denying it had engaged with military leaders over the 2019 approval of its $US290 million port, "We categorically deny having engaged with military leadership while receiving this approval or thereafter." However, according to ABC news, Adani Ports chief executive Karan Adani met with top general Min Aung Hlaing, an accused war criminal, in late July 2019.

 

Related:

What is India’s stand on humanitarian aid to those fleeing Myanmar violence?

India seals all entry points along Myanmar border

What will become of Jammu’s Rohingya refugees?

Will India face the impact of US sanctions on Myanmar military companies?

An Australian human rights lawyers collective have claimed that the Adani Group is financially involved with one of the companies

Myanmar violence

While the government of India is yet to make a comment on the issue, questions are being raised if a major impact will soon be felt here after the United States imposed sanctions on two Myanmar military companies. According to multiple media reports an Australian human rights lawyers collective have claimed that Adani Group is financially involved with one of the companies. It was reported by The Tribune that the US sanctioned Myanmar Economic Corporation (MEC) last week as it was “a vital financial lifeline” for the “Junta which has overthrown the elected government and killed hundreds of unarmed protesters”. The Australian lawyers’ report has claimed that Adani is paying about Rs 2,500 crore to MEC. According to the Australian Centre for International Justice (ACIJ) and the Justice for Myanmar group there is documentation that revealed that the money was provided to MEC which “stands credibly accused and is being investigated at the ICC and ICJ for crimes against humanity”.

According to news reports the “intention is to pressure Canberra into dumping its investment in Adani Ports, which also owns North Queensland operations linked to Carmichael coal mine”. The Australian lawyers and activists also want sovereign wealth funds and pension funds to stop investing in Adani Group on ethical grounds. However, the Adani Ports spokesperson has denied the allegation saying, “The Yangon project is independent with no joint venture partners. We are watching the situation carefully and will engage with relevant authorities and stakeholders to seek their advice for the way forward.”

The Australian ABC news has reported that even though the Adani group denies engaging with Myanmar’s military leadership over the port deal a “video suggests otherwise”. It reported that the Adani Group is paying up to $US52 million ($68.1 million) to a Myanmar military-controlled company. This firm has now “been slapped with sanctions by the United States over human rights violations.” According to this news report, the activists have said that a video and photos show that Adani Ports' boss met with the Junta's top general in 2019, thus contradicting the company's claim last month that it had never "engaged with military leadership" in Myanmar. It added that “leaked documents, from the Yangon Region Investment Commission, show Adani's subsidiary is paying $US30 million to MEC in "land lease fees".”

According to the ABC news the report’s author and ACIJ human rights lawyer Rawan Arraf has said the documents were leaked "shortly after the violent February 1 coup perpetrated by senior general Min Aung Hlaing and his cartel of the Myanmar military". She is quoted by ABC saying, “These documents reveal in particular is the amount that was provided to the MEC, a Myanmar military conglomerate that is controlled and owned by the Myanmar military [which] stands credibly accused and is being investigated at the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice for crimes against humanity, war crimes, and even in the case of the crimes against the Rohingya, genocide." She added, "Adani has been put on notice several times publicly, and they've refused to disengage from their Myanmar deal with [MEC] and that's a real problem. This money indirectly could be financing the Myanmar military to conduct international crimes." 

Australian lawyer Chris Sidoti who was a member of a 2019 United Nations fact-finding mission to Myanmar, which warned foreign companies against doing business with MEC and named Adani Ports as one of those engaged with the military conglomerate, was also quoted as saying, "The question for investors in Adani is whether they want to fund the operations of the Myanmar military, because that is what they are doing indirectly by investing in Adani.”

Meanwhile, this report also quoted a “spokeswoman” for Adani Ports who reportedly said the company was "watching the situation in Myanmar carefully and will engage with the relevant authorities and stakeholders to seek their advice on the way forward". Soon after Myanmar's coup, the Adani Group had issued a statement denying it had engaged with military leaders over the 2019 approval of its $US290 million port, "We categorically deny having engaged with military leadership while receiving this approval or thereafter." However, according to ABC news, Adani Ports chief executive Karan Adani met with top general Min Aung Hlaing, an accused war criminal, in late July 2019.

 

Related:

What is India’s stand on humanitarian aid to those fleeing Myanmar violence?

India seals all entry points along Myanmar border

What will become of Jammu’s Rohingya refugees?

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