Cluster Munition Ban Policy

Last updated: 05 September 2023

Summary: Non-signatory India has acknowledged the humanitarian concerns raised by cluster munitions, but has not taken any steps to join the Convention on Cluster Munitions, as it regards them as legitimate weapons. India has never participated in a meeting of the convention. India abstained from voting on a key United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) resolution promoting the convention in December 2022.

India produces, exports, imports, and stockpiles cluster munitions, but is not known to have used them.


The Republic of India has not acceded to the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

India has never commented on its position on acceding to the convention. India has acknowledged humanitarian concerns over the “irresponsible use” of cluster munitions, but regards them as “legitimate” weapons if used in accordance with international humanitarian law.[1]

India did not participate in the Oslo Process that created the Convention on Cluster Munitions.[2]

India has never participated in a meeting of the convention, even as an observer. India was invited to, but did not attend, the convention’s Tenth Meeting of States Parties held in Geneva in August–September 2022.

In December 2022, India abstained from the vote on a key UNGA resolution urging states outside the Convention on Cluster Munitions to “join as soon as possible.”[3] India has never explained why it has abstained from the vote on the annual UNGA resolution promoting the convention since it was first introduced in 2015.

India is not party to the Mine Ban Treaty.

India is party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) and has expressed regret at the failure in 2011 to adopt a CCW protocol on cluster munitions.[4] The end of CCW negotiations on cluster munitions leaves the Convention on Cluster Munitions as the sole international instrument dedicated to ending the suffering caused by these weapons.


India has produced cluster munitions delivered by ground-launched artillery projectiles, rockets, and missiles. India is not known to have developed or produced air-dropped cluster munitions.

The Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO), within India’s Ministry of Defence, has produced a cargo rocket containing dual-purpose improved conventional munition (DPICM) submunitions for the 214mm Pinaka multi-barrel rocket launcher system.[5] In 2015, submunition warheads for the Pinaka system were tested at a firing range in Pokhran, Rajasthan state.[6] Other sources claim that warheads containing submunitions were developed for the Agni, Dhanush, and Prithvi ballistic missile systems.[7]

Under an August 2012 agreement with Russian defense manufacturers Rosoboronexport and Splav, the Indian Ministry of Defence manufactured Smerch rockets including the 300mm 9M55K cluster munition rocket.[8]

In the past, the state-owned Indian Ordnance Factories advertised their capacity to produce for export 130mm and 155mm artillery projectiles containing DPICM submunitions equipped with a self-destruct feature.[9] Purchase order records retrieved in 2019 indicate that the Ordnance Factory in Maharashtra state has provided components for 130mm “Cargo Shells.”[10]


Indian companies producing cluster munitions have promoted their products at various defense industry arms fairs abroad. In June 2022, Munitions India Ltd. displayed the cluster munition variant of the Pinaka missile system at the Eurosatory arms fair, in violation of Eurosatory rules.[11] Previously, a private Indian arms manufacturer listed components for cluster munitions in a sales catalog displayed at a 2017 International Defence Exhibition (IDEX) event in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE).[12] The same manufacturer displayed components for cluster munitions at the Eurosatory trade fair, held in Paris in June 2018.[13]

International cluster munition producers have also displayed their products at various defense industry events in India. At an exhibition in Bangalore in February 2017, Russia displayed its RBK-500U SPBE-K cluster bomb.[14] At an arms fair in Bangalore in February 2013, Textron Systems displayed its CBU-105 Sensor Fuzed Weapon, which meets the definition of a cluster munition.[15]

India has imported cluster munitions from the United States (US) and other countries. The US announced a sale to India in 2008 of 510 air-delivered CBU-105 Sensor Fuzed Weapons manufactured by US defense contractor Textron Systems.[16] In May 2019, Indian Air Force Jaguar aircraft used at least two CBU-105 bombs during tests at the Pokhran Test Firing Range in Jaisalmer.[17]

Jane’s Information Group lists India as possessing United Kingdom (UK)-made BL755, French-made BLG-66 Belouga, and Soviet-produced RBK-250-275 and RBK-500 cluster bombs and KMG-U dispensers.[18] In 2006, India bought 28 launch units for the Russian-produced 300mm Smerch multi-barrel rocket launchers, with rockets equipped with dual-purpose and sensor-fuzed submunitions.[19]


India stockpiles cluster munitions acquired from the US and other countries, but has not disclosed information on the quantities or types in its possession.


The Monitor has not documented cluster munition use by India outside of testing since the adoption of the Convention on Cluster Munitions in 2008. It is unclear if India used cluster munitions before then.

Previous use allegations

In August 2019, India denied an allegation by Pakistan that it had used cluster munitions in the contested region of Kashmir on 30–31 July 2019, during an attack which reportedly killed two civilians, including a four-year-old boy, and wounded 11 others.[20] The Pakistan Army released photographs showing DPICM-type submunitions from artillery-delivered cluster munitions. Pakistan’s president, foreign minister, and other high-ranking officials condemned the alleged cluster munition use for violating international law.[21]

In response, the Indian Army issued a statement asserting that “Allegations of firing of cluster bombs by India is yet another Pakistan’s lie and deception.”[22]

At the UNGA in October 2019, Pakistan repeated the claim, stating that “India, which is a State Party to the CCW, recently used cluster munitions in populated areas resulting in deaths and injuries to civilians.”[23] India responded that “Pakistan has once again made a number of baseless and unsubstantiated allegations against India which are not borne out of facts.”[24]

The Monitor has not been able to conclusively determine if cluster munitions were used during the incident, or whether India was responsible for any use.

[1] Statement of India, Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) Fourth Review Conference, Geneva, 14 November 2011. India has often made similar statements in the past. See, statement of India, CCW Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) on Cluster Munitions, Geneva, 30 August 2010. Notes by Action on Armed Violence (AOAV); and statement of India, CCW GGE on Cluster Munitions, Geneva, 12 April 2010. Notes by AOAV.

[2] After the Convention on Cluster Munitions was adopted in May 2008, India sent a representative to a regional meeting on cluster munitions held in Lao PDR in October 2008. For more details on India’s policy and practice regarding cluster munitions through early 2009, see Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Landmine Action, Banning Cluster Munitions: Government Policy and Practice (Ottawa: Mines Action Canada, May 2009), pp. 208–210.

[3]Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” UNGA Resolution 77/79, 7 December 2022.

[4] Statement of India, CCW Fifth Review Conference, Geneva, 12 December 2016. See also, statement of India, CCW Meeting of the High Contracting Parties, Geneva, 12 November 2015; statement of India, CCW Meeting of the High Contracting Parties, Geneva, 13 November 2014; and statement of India, CCW Meeting of the High Contracting Parties, Geneva, 14 November 2013.

[5] Leland S. Ness and Anthony G. Williams, eds., Jane’s Ammunition Handbook 2007–2008 (Surrey: Jane’s Information Group, 2007), p. 715.

[7] Duncan Lennox, ed., Jane’s Strategic Weapons Systems 46 (Surrey: Jane’s Information Group, January 2007), pp. 49–56 and 85–87; and Duncan Lennox, ed., Jane’s Strategic Weapons Systems 42 (Surrey: Jane’s Information Group, January 2005), pp. 85–87.

[8]Smerch 9K58 MLRS Multiple Launch Rocket System,” Army Technology, 7 March 2022.

[9] The 130mm projectile contains 24 submunitions, and the 155mm projectile contains 49 submunitions. Specifications were available on the Indian Ordnance Factories website until 2019.

[10] Sandeep Metalkraft Pvt Ltd. of Maharastra state was listed as having concluded a contract for the production of components for 130mm cargo projectiles on the Indian Ordnance Factories purchase orders until 2019.

[11] Omega Research Foundation (Omega_RF), “Pinaka DPICM on display at #Eurosatory2022 Displaying mockups of #ClusterMunitions is in breach of #Eurosatory rules Munitions India Ltd (@ofk_India) should be banned from attending again. @lemondefr.” 20 June 2022, 10:49 UTC. Tweet.

[12] Hyderabad Precision Mfg. Co. Pvt. Ltd. brochure/information, obtained from IDEX in February 2017, on file in the Omega Research Foundation archive.

[13] Event organizers requested that they alter their display, but the caption “Cargo Ammunition for 130&155mm Gun - bomblet assembly” remained visible at the event. See, Omega Research Foundation (Omega_RF), “Cluster Bomb fuzes promoted at #Eurosatory 2018 this week, Paris. Hyderabad Precision poster covered but still promoted Cargo Ammunition for 130&155mm Gun - bomblet assembly… @minefreeworld @MAGsaveslives @hrw @banclusterbombs @banminesusa @MineMonitor.” 15 June 2018, 12:54 UTC. Tweet; and Hyderabad Precision Mfg. Co. Pvt. Ltd. brochure/information, obtained from Eurosatory in June 2018, on file in the Omega Research Foundation archive.

[14] Rahul Udoshi, “Aero India 2017: Bazalt pushes bombs and rockets to India,” IHS Janes 360, 15 February 2017.

[15] Photographs from Aero India 2013, sent to Control Arms Foundation of India by a journalist at the event. Email from Binalakshmi Neepram, Director, Control Arms Foundation of India, 6 February 2013.

[16] Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), US Department of Defense, “India: CBU-105 Sensor Fuzed Weapons,” Transmittal No. 08-105, 30 September 2008. The US attached a term to the transfer, in compliance with Public Law 110-161 (26 December 2008), which requires that the submunitions have a 99% or higher reliability rate and stipulates that “the cluster munitions will only be used against clearly defined military targets and will not be used where civilians are known to be present.” See also, Craig Hoyale, “India signs Sensor Fused Weapon deal,” FlightGlobal, 10 December 2010; and Craig Hoyale, “AERO INDIA: Textron launches production of CBU-105 sensor fuzed weapon for India,” FlightGlobal, 10 February 2011.

[17]IAF successfully test-fires anti-tank guided bomb,” Times of India, 20 May 2019.

[18] Robert Hewson, ed., Jane’s Air Launched Weapons, Issue 44 (Surrey: Jane’s Information Group, 2004), p. 840. While there is no information about specific transfers, the manufacturers are the UK (BL-755), France (BLG-66), and Russia/Soviet Union (RBKs).

[19]India, Russia sign deal for rockets,” Hindustan Times, 9 February 2006. Each Smerch rocket can carry five sensor-fuzed submunitions and either 72 or 646 dual-purpose high explosive submunitions.

[20] Pakistan Armed Forces press release, “Indian Army uses cluster ammunition along LOC deliberately targeting Civilian population,” 3 August 2019.

[21] Pakistan’s president Imran Khan condemned India’s alleged cluster munition use. See, Imran Khan (ImranKhanPTI), “I condemn India's attack across LOC on innocent civilians & it’s use of cluster munitions in violation of int humanitarian law and it’s own commitments under the 1983 Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons. UNSC must take note of this international threat to peace & security.” 4 August 2019, 11:34 UTC. Tweet; Minister of Foreign Affairs Shah Mehmood Qureshi tweeted photographs of alleged cluster munition victims. See, Shah Mehmood Qureshi (SMQureshiPTI), “Strongly condemn the blatant use of cluster ammunition by Indian Security Forces targeting innocent civilians along the Line Of Control. This is clear violation of the Geneva Convention & International Laws.” 3 August 2019, 12:30 UTC. Tweet; The chief spokesperson of the Pakistan Armed Forces, Gen. Asif Ghafoor, also condemned the alleged use. See, DG ISPR (OfficialDGISPR), “Use of cluster bombs by Indian Army violating international conventions is condemnable. No weapon can suppress determination of Kashmiris to get their right of self-determination. Kashmir runs in blood of every Pakistani. Indigenous freedom struggle of Kashmiris shall succeed,IA.” 3 August 2019, 12:36 UTC. Tweet.

[23] Statement of Pakistan, UNGA First Committee on Disarmament and International Security, New York, 23 October 2019.

[24] Statement of India, UNGA First Committee on Disarmament and International Security, New York, 24 October 2019.