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Indian Helicopters For Burma

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

INDIAN HELICOPTERS FOR BURMA -- (Extensions of Remarks - August 04, 2007)

* Mr. PITTS. Madam Speaker, I was deeply disturbed to read a recently released report, by European Union non-governmental organizations, entitled Indian Helicopters for Burma: making a mockery of embargoes? The report provided details on India's negotiations with Burma's military junta since late 2006 and focused on the transfer of Advanced Light Helicopters (ALH) to Burma's military. India, the world's largest democracy, has increasingly spurned democracy supporters in Burma in favor of increased cooperation with Burma's military regime, even providing Burma's ruling generals with tanks, aircraft, artillery guns, radar, small arms, and the ALH. Absent any external enemy, Burma's military rulers have employed these arms and military equipment against its ethnic minority civilian population, resulting in the destruction of more than 3,000 villages, the use of forced labor, and the rape and murder of thousands of ethnic minority civilians.

* Even more appalling than the increased military cooperation and sales between the Government of India and Burma's military regime is evidence that the transfer of military hardware risks violating both European Union and U.S. arms restrictions in place against Burma's military regime. Parts and technologies vital to the manufacture of the ALH were provided by several European companies and two American companies, Aitech Systems, Ltd. and Lord Corporation. It is essential that our government immediately investigate whether or not the inclusion of American parts and technologies in the production of India's ALHs and the potential impending transfer of the ALHs from the Government of India to Burma's brutal military generals violate U.S. export control regulations and the U.S. arms embargo on Burma.

* The brutality of Burma's generals towards its own people continues to increase. It is obvious to all familiar with the regime's use of forced labor, its systematic use of rape as a weapon of war, its destruction of villages and livelihoods in its efforts to ethnically cleanse Burma of all its ethnic minorities, that the purchase of these military helicopters is for one purpose and one purpose only--strengthening and increasing military attacks against ethnic minority civilians. Already humanitarian aid groups operating in Eastern Burma have noticed a number of areas in which helicopter landing pads are appearing, a sight very new to the landscape of ethnic minority territory. These landing pads will give Burmese generals the ability to transport soldiers quickly and easily into areas where civilians are fleeing. The ethnic minorities fear that the regime plans to increase its attacks against them.

* The U.S. government must take immediate steps to implement the recommendations outlined in the newly released report, including, but not limited to, commencing negotiations with the Government of India to cease the transfer of Advanced Light Helicopters to Burma's military regime; discontinuing all future defense production cooperation with India that might lead to transfers of embargoed controlled equipment to Burma; attaching to all future licenses for transfers of controlled goods and technology to India a strict and enforceable condition, with penalty clauses prohibiting re-export to states under an embargo to which the original exporting state is party without express governmental permission; and drawing attention to the high likelihood of that military equipment being used by Burma's military to commit ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity in violation of international law including international human rights and humanitarian law.

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