Practice Relating to Rule 83. Removal or Neutralization of Landmines
In 2003, at the 5th Annual Conference of the States Parties to the Amended Protocol II of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, the head of the Indian delegation stated:
India remains committed to full and effective implementation of the Amended Protocol II and has taken all the required measures to ensure the compliance with its provisions …
Mr. President, in India only the armed forces are permitted to use landmines. They have well- established Standard of Operation Procedures whereby minefields are laid along border areas as a part of military operations and are explicitly marked and fenced to prevent causalities to innocent civilians or grazing cattle. Mines had to be laid along our western border in 2002 and by last month, over 90 percent of mines laid had been recovered. The target of 100 percent recovery of all mines that have been laid will be achieved shortly.
As a result of the Government of India’s policy on landmines, we are in a position to state that there is no interior part of India that could be regarded as mine afflicted. … The Corps of Engineers of the Indian Army continue to aid civil authorities in defusing and clearing improvised explosive devices used indiscriminately by terrorists in some parts of the country.
In 2005, in a statement at the 7th Annual Conference of the States Parties to Amended Protocol II to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, the head of the Indian delegation stated:
The Indian army has acquired considerable technical expertise in defusing and clearing mines and improvised explosive devices. This expertise has been extensively applied in UN-sponsored mine clearance programmes in several peacekeeping operations that India has participated in, including those in Angola, Bosnia, Cambodia, Congo, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Rwanda, Sierra Leone and Somalia. We are in favour of strengthened technical cooperation in mine clearance programmes, including the unrestricted transfer of mine detection and clearance technology, equipment and training …
India supports measures undertaken by the States Parties for the universalization of AP II [the 1980 Protocol II to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons] … I take this opportunity to urge those who have not done so to ratify the [1980 Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons] and its five protocols as soon as possible. My delegation looks forward to a useful exchange of views on the implementation of the Protocol, to which we have committed ourselves with the objective of securing a mine-free world.
In 2007, at the Ninth Annual Conference of the States Parties to Amended Protocol II to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, the permanent representative of India to the Conference on Disarmament stated:
It would be appropriate at this Conference to provide details of India’s national implementation of Amended Protocol-II under specific heads.
Mine clearance programmes
• India’s armed forces have not used mines for maintenance of law and order or in internal security situations, or even for combating terrorists and terrorist organisations, including those that have indiscriminately used improvised explosive devices and mines. The Corps of Army Engineers continues to aid civil authorities in defusing and clearing such devices.
• Whenever and wherever the army has used mines for defensive military operations, the mines have been laid within fenced perimeters and marked, in accordance with the requirements specified in Amended Protocol-II. Post-operations, these mines have been cleared by trained troops and arable land handed back to the owners at the earliest.
International cooperation for mine clearance
• India remains committed to providing mine-related assistance under the UN umbrella. India is one of the largest contributors to the UN peacekeeping operations the world over. Cambodia, Angola and Afghanistan, where we have carried out de-mining operations, are perhaps the most heavily mined countries in the world. In Cambodia, the Indian Army had deployed de-mining supervising teams as far back as 1991. After training several de-mining platoons, de-mining of specific areas was entrusted to these teams, resulting in hundreds of square kilometres of land being cleared of mines. Our training effort towards this end continues even today. In Angola, the Indian Army had undertaken large-scale de-mining operations under the UN umbrella in 1995. More recently, in connection with the Indian Government’s programme of constructing a road in the heavily mined south-western part of Afghanistan, from Zaranj to Delaram, we have undertaken a de-mining operation since December 2005, which is very nearly done, and the road construction now is in full swing.
Technical cooperation and assistance
• India has been a ready provider of technical assistance and expertise for mine clearance and rehabilitation programmes in international de-mining efforts. Besides contributing to participating in national, regional and international workshops and seminars, an Indian Army team imparted training to the Cambodian Army on de-mining operations in March 2007. Thereafter, the trained Cambodian army detachments have undertaken de-mining operations in Sudan under the aegis of UNMIS, starting from mid-2007.
In 2012, in a statement during a debate in the Lower House of Parliament (Lok Sabha) on the situation in Sri Lanka, India’s Minister of External Affairs stated:
The end of the long period of armed conflict in Sri Lanka in May 2009, left around 3,00,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) living in camps in Northern Sri Lanka and general devastation of infrastructure in the affected areas.
… The Government of India has implemented and continues to implement a wide range of projects covering assistance projects for IDPs in the areas of housing, de-mining, …
India also announced the construction of 50,000 houses, mainly for IDPs in Sri Lanka … It may also be kept in mind that construction is taking place in largely inaccessible areas, which in many cases [have] to be freed of mines and other explosive ordinance and cleared of jungle.