Indonesian Defense Company Rejects Claims of Illicit Arms Sales to Myanmar

Network — Kaltim Today 08 Oktober 2023 10:31
Indonesian Defense Company Rejects Claims of Illicit Arms Sales to Myanmar
A soldier stands guard at a blockaded road leading to Myanmar’s parliament in Naypyidaw, Feb. 1, 2021. (Photo: AFP) - Indonesia's renowned state-owned defense corporation, DEFEND ID, refuted allegations on Wednesday from human rights advocates regarding the illegal sale of weaponry to the Myanmar military.

DEFEND ID clarified that its subsidiary, PT Pindad, only shipped sporting ammunition to Myanmar back in 2016 for an ASEAN shooting event. Furthermore, it stated that aircraft manufacturer PT Dirgantara Indonesia and naval craft producer PAL Indonesia had zero affiliations or sales contracts with Myanmar.

"Our actions are always aligned with the Indonesian government's foreign strategies and the U.N. resolution against Myanmar's turmoil," said Bobby Rasyidin, DEFEND ID's CEO.

These comments were in response to accusations from a consortium spearheaded by ex-Indonesian Attorney General, Marzuki Darusman. The group alleged that DEFEND ID's subsidiaries had supplied Myanmar with a range of military equipment over the past ten years, potentially even post the 2021 coup.

A formal grievance was lodged with the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) by Marzuki and his colleagues. They claim to have proof of these arms transfers via a Myanmar-based firm linked to a junta-related minister's offspring. Their request: an in-depth investigation and potential escalation to a human rights tribunal.

Indonesia, currently chairing the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), has openly denounced the Myanmar military for its post-coup brutality. The nation champions ASEAN's peace-focused five-point consensus on Myanmar, though the junta has yet to adopt its recommendations.

Post the contested general election results, Myanmar witnessed a military coup on Feb 1, 2021. This led to massive civilian protests, militia resistance, and a subsequent violent military clampdown.

The aftermath? Over 4,100 casualties and 25,000 arrests, as reported by the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners. The U.N. has raised concerns, stating Myanmar stands on the edge of a significant humanitarian crisis.

DEFEND ID boasts five branches specializing in various defense products, including ammunition, ships, and aircraft. Both PAL Indonesia and Pindad issued separate statements reinforcing their adherence to human rights and Indonesia's foreign strategies.

Former U.N. official Marzuki, who had previously advocated for an arms embargo against Myanmar, commented that the post-Rohingya genocide equipment sales raised skepticism regarding Indonesia's alignment with international laws.

Security analysts have weighed in on the matter. Khairul Fahmi of the Institute for Security and Strategic Studies remarked that should the allegations hold, the government could appear neglectful. Another analyst, Muradi of Padjadjaran University, highlighted the challenges of controlling weapon usage once sold, given the absence of stringent regulations.

Muradi emphasized that the primary market for Indonesia's defense sector remains domestic, making up 80% of its revenue. However, he also touched upon the complexities of overseas sales, stating, "While we aim to enhance exports, we cannot dictate the purchasing nation's terms of weapon utilization."


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