Landmine disarmament in India

Landmine disarmament in India

Question - Land-mines are an internationally recognised banned weapon and India should take the lead in banning these as well. Discuss the issue of land-mine disarmament in India.

Indian land-mines are not useful any more as they create hazards for the population and communities living in border areas. India has been an advocate of disarmament measures of the United Nations.

• MEA has indicated India has a permanent commitment to general and complete disarmament and this is in line with principles of non-discrimination, verification and universality

• 1996: India voted in favour of UNGA Resolution urging states to pursue a global agreement placing a ban on anti-personnel mines

• 1997: Mine Ban Treaty has come into place but India did not go along with this

• 80% of world governments have joined this treaty

• UN Secretary General has viewed it as a near universal convention

• India needs to formulate its disarmament policy

• 1999: India joined the Optional Protocol on the UN Convention on Conventional Weapons limiting itself to a restricted disarmament measures on anti-personnel land-mines

• The protocol has limited the use of undetectable land-mines needing permanent marking and fencing of the mined area, yet there is no comprehensive ban on the weapon.

• India was once a leading manufacturer of non-detectable land-mines and employed them across the global border with Pakistan and the Kashmir LoC

• Land-mines are a banned weapon across the world on account of their indiscriminate nature

• Following the laying of the land-mine, there is no discrimination between combatants and civilians

• Land-mines also become a deadly source of conflict even when the war is over

• A land-mine also does not discriminate between the soldiers of the opposite and own side during the armed conflict as well

• Whether one land-mine exists or many, the fear and uncertainty regarding the land-mines remain

• Land-mines also limit mobility and access to productive resources

• Land-mines have been placed to prevent incursion of militants but this has not proved beneficial in the long run either as the strategy has been ineffective as a deterrent

Facts and Stats

• Largest known use of anti-personnel mines in recent times is in India

• December 2001 Operation Parakram : Land-mines placed across LoC

• 2005 April Lok Sabha Standing Committee on Defence: Indian Army suffered 1,776 casualties while laying and removing minefields on the border between 2001 and 2005

• NGO survey says 1,295 civilian causalities in 2004 from Operation Parakram land-mines

• 2004: at least 3,00,000 mines planted across 400 kms of the global border in the states of Rajasthan and Punjab were not traceable and the area should be cordoned off.
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