A joint report released by two human rights activist groups linked Indian conglomerate Adani group to Myanmar military-owned company, Myanmar Economic Corporation (MEC). It revealed that this Indian company has paid up to 52 million USD to the Myanmar military as a business transaction.
Justice for Myanmar (JFM) and Australian Centre for International Justice (ACIJ) shared the report called ‘The Port of Complicity: Adani Ports in Myanmar’ contained leaked documents, pictures, and videos about a deal between Adani’s subsidiaries in Myanmar and the MEC.
According to the documents, Adani was constructing a container port on military-owned land in Yangon. It paid around 30 million USD as a “land lease fees” to MEC and an additional 22 million USD in “land clearance fees”.
The explosive revelation has shocked the community, given the widespread awareness about the Myanmar military’s atrocities. Adani on the other hand has denied the claims made by the joint report but also did not condemn the Myanmar military coup.
Video Footage Shows Adani Group with Myanmar Military Junta
Myanmar’s army generals have received international criticism for arresting democracy since 1st February 2021. Even before that many human rights organizations have been making noise about its genocide of the Rohingya Muslim community. Agencies of the United Nations (UN) have also declared it as a textbook example of ethnic cleansing. Still, an Indian conglomerate decided to do business with such a military, which made this revelation further painful for the public.
Visual evidence from the documents highly contradicts the Indian company’s response to the report. The CEO of Adani Group can be clearly seen shaking hands and exchanging gifts with the junta leader Min Aung Hlaing while visiting the Mundra Port in 2019.
According to reports, the United States (US) slammed MEC with economic sanctions just last week. It also targeted another Military conglomerate, Myanma Economic Holdings Limited (MEHL). Sanctions are in an attempt to disrupt the financial resources of the junta, which allows them to strengthen the inhumane coup.
Apart from the US, Canada, the UK, and the EU have also imposed targeted sanctions against Min Aung Hlaing for his role in the Myanmar coup and other serious human rights abuses by the military. The coup has not only caused mass subjugation but also the murder of 250 peaceful protestors, and subjective imprisonment of thousands.
Call to Investors in the Adani Ports
The problematic financial transactions with the Adani group and the MEC have prompted calls for major investors to divest from Adani Port. Adani’s most prominent investors include HSBC, J.P. Morgan, BlackRock, Norges Bank, Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America (TIAA), and S&P Global. Activists raised voice that if investors really are not complicit in military’s atrocities and
The report cited the legal analyses from the UN Human Rights Council’s International Independent Fact-Finding Mission Report of 2019. It warned the investments in MEC’s partner companies were likely to help finance Myanmar’s military’s actions. Moreover, it also said that foreign investments were being used in facilitating rampant corruption, which allowed the military to keep siphoning away public funds.
Adani Ports has been conducting business as usual despite the illegal military coup in the country. JFM argued that Adani Ports remained complicit in the atrocities and corruption by giving direct payments to the military-backed companies. JFM further claimed that despite their persistent effort, Adani Ports failed to cut their ties with the junta. Therefore, they decided to convince investors, shareholders, and creditors to stop doing business with the Indian company and stand with the people of Myanmar.
Other Controversial Projects
The report also found that Adani’s Yangon port operations are connected to its Australian business through shared management. Adani Ports in Australia was already infamous for the controversial Carmichael coal project. Adani Ports also owns the Bowen Rail Company to haul coal from Adani’s Carmichael mine to its Great Barrier Reef port.
The activist groups also warned that the investors of Adani Ports could also be supporting the finance of this project. A major investor of Adani Ports in the US, PIMCO severed its ties with Adani Ports over its Carmichael coal project. Climate change activists have led a strong campaign against the risk this business proposed for the health and well-being of people and the environment.
This report has also brought Adani Ports’ Sustainability Index on the stock market under review. Market campaigners have also raised concerns over the Carmichael coal operations and Adani Group and Myanmar military relationships.