Mine Ban Policy

Last updated: 09 October 2018


The Republic of India has not acceded to the Mine Ban Treaty.

In December 2017, India repeated that it “supports the vision of a world free of anti-personnel mines.Our presence as Observers in this and previous meetings of States Parties…is an expression of our support for these objectives.”[1] In October 2017, India reiterated its long-held position that the Amended Protocol II of the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) “enshrines the approach of taking into account legitimate defence requirements of states with long borders.”India has previously offered the same explanation each year, stating it “supports the vision of a world free of anti-personnel mines” and that the “availability of cost-effective alternative military technologies that can perform the legitimate defensive role played by anti-personnel landmines will considerably facilitate the goal of the complete elimination of anti-personnel mines.”[2]

India attended, as an observer, the convention’s Third Review Conference held in Maputo in September 2014. India sent an observer to the Mine Ban Treaty Sixteenth Meeting of States Parties in Vienna in December 2017, but did not attend the intersessional meetings in June 2018.

On 4 December 2017, India abstained from voting on United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) Resolution 72/53 calling for universalization and full implementation of the Mine Ban Treaty, as it has on similar annual resolutions since 1997.

Subsequent to a bilateral meeting with the delegate of India to the Vienna Meeting of States Parties, at the invitation of the delegate, the ICBL sent a Note Verbale to the government of India regarding its concerns about the Mine Ban Treaty and requesting the government of India consider undertaking a comprehensive policy review, with both military and civil input, on its use of antipersonnel landmines. As of August 2018, no official reply to the note was received. To the side of the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) meeting, two representatives met informally with the Monitor but indicated that no such review was planned, and that they did not believe that the casualties indicated by the Monitor were accurate.[3] In February 2018, much of the material and suggestions within the Note Verbale were published in the Indian press.[4] In April 2018, a major newspaper in Jammu & Kashmir called on both India and Pakistan to join the Mine Ban Treaty.[5]

India is party to the CCW and its Amended Protocol II on landmines and Protocol V on explosive remnants of war.

Production, transfer, and stockpiling

India is one of the few countries still producing antipersonnel mines. India states that all production is authorized and controlled by government agencies.[6] Production of antipersonnel mines appeared to be ongoing in 2016, 2017, and to some extent in 2018. Purchase order records retrieved from a publicly accessible online government transaction database list at least a dozen private companies providing components of M-16, M-14, and APER 1B antipersonnel mines to the Indian Ordnance Factories in late 2016 and throughout 2017.[7] Components were produced under these contracts and supplied to the Ammunition Factory Khadki and Ordnance Factory Chandrapur, both in Maharashtra state.[8] Orders indicated that production may have continued under into 2018.[9] In September 2018, Indian military officials confirmed to the Monitor that production of completed mines remains under the Indian Ordnance Factories, a state enterprise.[10]

Previously, during 2010 and into 2011, the Indian Ordnance Factory Board produced M14 and M16 antipersonnel mines. The quantities produced are not known.[11] In 2007–2008, India produced at least five types of mines, including two types of antipersonnel mines (AP NM-14 and AP NM-16) and two types of antivehicle mines (AT ND 1A and AT ND 4D), as well as the APER 1B mine (a type unknown to the Monitor).[12]

In October 2017, India reaffirmed that it has had a formal export moratorium of unlimited duration in place since May 1996.[13] It has previously stated that it favors an outright ban on the transfer of antipersonnel mines even to States Parties of CCW Amended Protocol II.[14] However, in June 2018, a private Indian arms manufacturer advertised a “bounding mine with fuze” in its sales catalogue at the Eurosatory military trade event in Paris. On the second day of the event, Eurosatory organizers ordered the display booth of the Indian company closed, and removed their entry at the event from the online catalogue.[15] Previously in February 2017, the same Indian arms manufacturer had components for bounding fragmentation antipersonnel landmines listed within their sales catalogue on display at the IDEX military trade event in Abu Dhabi.[16] Five Mine Ban Treaty States Parties have reported Indian-made mines in their stockpiles: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Mauritius, Sudan, and Tanzania. India has previously denied that any transfer of mines to these countries took place.[17]

In 1999, the Monitor estimated that India stockpiled between four and five million antipersonnel mines, one of the world’s largest stockpiles.[18] India has neither confirmed nor denied this estimate. In March 2008, Brigadier Vijay Sharma, former Deputy Director of the Directorate of Military Operations, stated that India does not possess mines that can detonate in the presence of mine detectors and does not possess—nor is it designing—any mine with antihandling characteristics.[19] However, Indian Ordnance Factory produces a non-detectable antivehicle mine with an “anti-removal” fuze.[20] An address by a military commander to army sappers (engineers), reported by the press in September 2010, stated, “After India became a signatory to a UN convention on landmine [sic], we are compulsorily putting a steel rod measuring a few inches in each mine so that it can be detected during demining operations.”[21]



India’s last major use of antipersonnel mines took place between December 2001 and July 2002, when the Indian Army deployed an estimated two million mines along its northern and western border with Pakistan in Operation Parakram.[22] This was probably the most extensive use of antipersonnel mines anywhere in the world since the Mine Ban Treaty was negotiated and first signed in 1997.

In April 2010, in response to a Right to Information Act (RTI) request, India stated that the army had not laid any mines during 2008 or 2009.[23] Officials did not respond to a later RTI request. Indian officials have also previously stated on many occasions that “There is no minefield or mined area in any part of India’s interiors” but have acknowledged that “minefields are laid, if required, along the border areas as part of military operations.”[24] However, in previous years, injuries from mines planted near military bases within Jammu and Kashmir state were reported.[25] Deaths and injuries by both military personnel and civilians near the Line of Control (LoC) are reported regularly by the press.[26]

Some Indian Army officials have said that infiltration of Kashmiri militants across the LoC between Pakistani- and Indian-administered sections of Kashmir is the main rationale for mines laid along the LoC, as well as the international border.[27] The Monitor has previously reported mine use in counter-insurgency operations in Kashmir.[28] Civilians continued to be killed and injured by mines in Kashmir in 2017 and early 2018 (see Casualties section).[29]

Non-state armed groups

In January 2018, a wild elephant was injured by a landmine in the Latehar district, Jharkhand state, allegedly laid by Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-M).[30] Previously, in September 2017, an elephant was killed after it stepped on a landmine also attributed to the CPI-M in the same area of Jharkhand state.[31] In July 2017, the Deputy Inspector General of Police in Chhatisgarh state informed the state news agency that “Pressure IEDs [improvised explosive devices] planted randomly inside the forests in unpredictable places, where frequent de-mining operations are not feasible, remain a challenge.”[32] The use of these victim-activated improvised mines was attributed by the police to the CPI-M and its armed wing, the People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army.[33] In May 2017, India’s Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) recovered a cache of 53 landmines, with 500 grams of explosive, in Jharkhand state. In December 2016, the CRPF recovered a cache of 120 landmines, with between 800–1,000 grams of explosive, also in Jharkhand state.[34]

Previous Landmine Monitor reports have documented widespread use by the CPI-M of command-detonated IEDs.[35] These were frequently reported as “landmines” in the media and specialized reports on the conflict, but it has not always been possible to determine the mechanism of explosive devices from news reports.[36] Indian authorities regularly report to have discovered explosive material from armed groups.[37] Maoist cadres have deployed large numbers of command-detonated roadside bombs, some of which have caused civilian deaths.[38]

In June 2018, a cache of landmines, believed to have been hidden by the former LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) of Sri Lanka, was found during a construction project in Tamil Nadu.[39]

In a previous response to an RTI request by the Landmine Monitor regarding landmine use by non-state armed groups (NSAGs), a Ministry of Home Affairs official, referring to the NSAG Naxal, wrote, “The naxal affected area are prone to IEDs planted by naxal operation.” He further noted that “detection and disposal of IEDs is carried out by the state police/Central Armed Police Forces allotted to the affected states. Army units have not been tasked to deal with Naxal-related problem.”[40]

In 2016 and 2017, there were no allegations of landmine use by insurgents in the northeastern states of India or in Jammu & Kashmir state. No NSAGs have declared a ban on mine use in recent years.[41]

[1] Statement of India, Mine Ban Treaty Sixteenth Meeting of States Parties, Vienna, 19 December 2017. This statement was virtually identical to its statement of the previous year. See, statement of India, Mine Ban Treaty Fifteenth Meeting of States Parties, Santiago, Chile, 29 November 2016.

[2] India,Explanation of Vote on Resolution L.40, 72nd Session, United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) First Committee, New York, 31 October 2017, UNGA, Official Records, A/C.1/72/PV26, pp. 14/29. The statement is identical to statements in earlier years such as 2016, 2011, 2010, and 2009.

[3] Landmine Monitor meeting with Cmdre. Nishant Kumar, Ministry of External Affairs and Col. Sumit Kabthiyal, Ministry of Defence, CCW Group of Governmental Experts (GGE), Geneva, 27 August 2018.

[5]Sign the treaty now,” Greater Kashmir, 22 April 2018.

[6] CCW Amended Protocol II Article 13 Report, Form D, 4 December 2006. However, as reported by the Monitor in 2007, some of the production process appears to be carried out by commercial entities. See, Landmine Monitor Report 2007, p. 833. All subsequent Article 13 reports state that this statement is unchanged, however, in 2018, India did not file its annual report to the convention.

[7] Landmine Monitor complied a listing “current contracts” showing who the contract was awarded to, which companies applied for consideration, the number of units, cost and total cost, when it is to be delivered by, plus other information. From Indian Ordnance Factories, “Purchase Orders,” last updated 27 November 2017. All current contracts are with one of two Indian Ordnance Factories located in Maharastra state, where the mines are assembled with components from private companies. Presumably they produce and add the explosive charge here, as no vendor provides more than fuzes, bodies, and other parts.

[8] The following companies were listed as having concluded contract listed for production of components of antipersonnel mines on the Indian Ordnance Factories Purchase Orders between October 2016 and November 2017: Sheth & Co., Supreme Industries Ltd., Pratap Brothers, Brahm Steel Industries, M/s Lords Vanjya Pvt. Ltd., Sandeep Metalkraft Pvt Ltd., Milan Steel, Prakash Machine Tools, Sewa Enterprises, Naveen Tools Mfg. Co. Pvt. Ltd., Shyam Udyog, and Dhruv Containers Pvt. Ltd. In addition, the following companies had established contracts for the manufacture of mine components: Ashoka Industries, Alcast, Nityanand Udyog Pvt. Ltd., Miltech Industries, Asha Industries, and Sneh Engineering Works. Mine types indicated were either M-16, M-14, APERS 1B, or “APM” mines. From searching the Indian Ordnance Factories, “List of Registered Vendors,” undated.

[9] In February 2018, Supreme Industries Ltd was listed as having concluded a contract for production of material for antipersonnel mines on the Indian Ordnance Factories Purchase Orders. However, no other orders were listed as concluded between December 2017 and September 2018 for antipersonnel mines. Components and materials for directional mines and antivehicle mines were listed.

[10] Landmine Monitor meeting with Cmdre. Kumar, Ministry of External Affairs and Col. Kabthiyal, Ministry of Defence, CCW GGE, Geneva, 27 August 2018.

[11] Email reply to Right to Information (RTI) request made by Control Arms Foundation of India, from Ordnance Factory Board, Ministry of Defence, 5 May 2011.

[12] Email reply to RTI request made by Control Arms Foundation of India on behalf of the Monitor, from Saurabh Kumar, Director, Planning and Coordination, Department of Defence Production, Ministry of Defence, 2 April 2009.

[13] India, Explanation of Vote on Resolution L.40, 72nd Session, UNGA First Committee, New York, 31 October 2017, UNGA, Official Records, A/C.1/72/PV26, pp. 14/29.

[14] Statement by Amb. Jayant Prasad, Eighth Annual Conference of States Parties to CCW Amended Protocol II, Geneva, 6 November 2006.

[15] Upon being alerted to Ashoka’s presence at the Eurosatory military trade fair, the ICBL contacted the French government regarding the sale catalogue’s antipersonnel mine. The brochure was observed on display at Eurodatory by Omega Research in June 2018. Emails from Omega Research, 11 & 12 June 2018. See also, Rachida El Azzouzi, “La planète guerrière défile à Eurosatory,” Mediapart, 15 June 2018.

[16] Ashoka Manufacturing Limited, “Marketing Brochure,” undated. Brochure was observed on display at IDEX by Omega Research in February 2017. Email from Omega Research, 7 November 2017.

[18] See, Landmine Monitor Report 1999, p. 467. The figure may no longer be accurate following the large number of mines planted along the Pakistani border in 2001 and 2002, or taking into consideration new production of mines.

[19] Control Arms Foundation of India, “Conference on the Indispensability of Anti-Personnel Mines for India’s Defence: Myth or Reality?” Conference Report, New Delhi, 26 March 2008, p. 75.

[20] Indian Ordnance Factory lists the mine as “Anti-Tank Mine 4D ND,” on “List of Registered Vendors,” undated.

[21] Shubhadeep Choudhury, “Pokhran debate will impact forces, says Army officer,” The Tribune, 21 September 2010.

[23] Reply to RTI request, made by Control Arms Foundation of India, from Lt.-Col. Rajesh Raghav, GSO-1RTI, Central Public Information Officer, Indian Army, 8 April 2010.

[24] Statement by Brig. S.M. Mahajan, Director of Military Affairs, Ministry of External Affairs, Fifth National Conference of the Indian Campaign to Ban Landmines (Indian CBL), New Delhi, 23–24 April 2008. This has been stated frequently in the past. See, Landmine Monitor Report 2007, p. 834; Landmine Monitor Report 2006, p. 898; and Landmine Monitor Report 2005, p. 716.

[25] In October 2011, a laborer stepped on a mine at the Khundru army camp in Anantnag district. “Army porter injured in landmine explosion,” Press Trust of India, 19 October 2011.

[26] See, for example, “3 army soldiers injured in landmine blast in Kupwara district,” The Tribune, 11 September 2017. See also, ICBL, “Country Profile: India: Casualties and Victim Assistance,” 26 December2016.

[29] Between January and September 2018, mine casualties, both military and civilian, including civilians portering for the army, occurred more than once per month according to media monitoring by the Monitor.

[30]Hurt tusker hints at rebels,” The Telegraph, 15 January 2018.

[31] A.S.R.P. Mukesh, “Blast in tiger turf kills tusker,” The Telegraph, 21 September 2017.

[32] Tikeshwar Patel, “IEDs pose huge challenge in efforts to counter Naxals: police,” Press Trust of India, 24 July 2017.

[33] The CPI-M and a few other smaller groups are often referred to collectively as Naxalites. The Maoists also have a People’s Militia with part-time combatants with minimal training and unsophisticated weapons.

[34]Over 50 landmines recovered in Jharkhand,” Statesman, 16 May 2017; and “120 land mines found in Latehar forest,” Times of India, 12 December 2016.

[35] Command detonated explosive devices are not considered antipersonnel mines or prohibited by the Mine Ban Treaty, but are subject, like all other weapons, to International Humanitarian Law.

[36] Requests for clarification on Naxal-made explosive devices to the India’s Central Reserve Police Force, and the CRPF’s Institute of IED Management in Pune, went unanswered.

[37] See, for example, “Kanpur: Large haul of landmine detonators seized from abandoned car,” Indian Express, 8 July 2016. See also, ICBL, “Country Profile: India: Mine Ban Policy,” 28 November 2013.

[38] See, “Two villagers killed as Maoists blast landmine,” Press Trust of India/Latehar (Jharkhand), 8 January 2013.

[40] Email reply to RTI request made by Control Arms Foundation of India, from Sunil Kumar, Director (ANO), Indian Supreme Court, Naxal Management Division (ANO Wing), Ministry of Home Affairs, New Delhi, 3 June 2011.

[41] In March 2009, the Zomi Re-unification Organisation renounced mine use by signing Geneva Call’s Deed of Commitment, as did the Kuki National Organization in Manipur in August 2006, and the National Socialist Council of Nagalim-Isak/Muivah in Nagaland in October 2003. In October 2007, the United Jihad Council, a coalition of 18 organizations in Kashmir, issued a Declaration of a Total Ban on Antipersonnel Mines in Kashmir.