Norway’s sovereign wealth fund – the world’s largest – has pulled out of the two companies over arms sales to Myanmar.
Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, the world’s largest, has banned two companies from China and India for selling light aircraft and military equipment to military-controlled Myanmar.
Norges Bank Investment Management said it withdrew from AviChina Industry & Technology and Bharat Electronics due to the “unacceptable threat” the companies posed by selling equipment to a country that uses “grossly infringing methods and violations of international law”.
The fund, valued at 13.2 trillion kroner ($1.3 trillion) on Wednesday, had 0.37 percent of the Chinese group and 0.32 percent of the Indian company at the end of 2021, according to the most recent figures. The decision to delist the two companies was taken by the ethics watchdog, the fund said in a statement released on Tuesday.
AviChina delivered light aircraft in December 2021 to Myanmar and Bharat Electronics delivered remote control systems to Myanmar in July 2021, the fund said.
“Before and after the attack in 2021, the military has committed serious atrocities against civilians, among other things, warplanes, according to several international organizations,” the fund said in a statement released by AviChina.
“The council has seen that the company provided aircraft to Myanmar despite the military takeover and information about the brutality of the military. The company did not answer the questions of the council,” the fund added.
According to the fund, the Bharat Electronics system was “designed to control remote control systems in an army vehicle”.
“Such vehicles are said to be used in attacks on civilians in Myanmar,” the fund said. “The threats have been widespread and, in the Council’s view, constitute serious and consistent violations of international law.”
The fund, which is funded by the Norwegian government, is one of the world’s largest investors with shares in more than 9,000 companies. It also has bonds and real estate. Subject to laws that prohibit investing in companies that violate human rights, the fund has already pulled out of a number of companies, including Airbus, Boeing, Glencore, Lockheed Martin and US tobacco giant Philip Morris.
Three former United Nations experts said last week that companies from 13 countries – including France, Germany, China, India, Russia, Singapore and the United States – have been supplying Myanmar with “difficult” weapons.
The Special Advisory Council on Myanmar (SAC-M) said that after seizing power in a coup d’état in February 2021, the Myanmar military has become self-sufficient in the production of various weapons.
The advisory council called on countries to investigate and introduce measures to control companies whose products were found to be helping the government produce weapons used in attacks on civilians.