Swedish arms in Myanmar “came via India”

Swedish anti-tank rifles that ended up in the hands of Myanmar soldiers in breach of European Union sanctions were originally exported to India, Sweden’s trade minister said on Thursday.

The Swedish Agency for Non-Proliferation and Export Controls (ISP) confirmed on Wednesday it had begun an investigation after it was given details of several high-performance M-3 Carl Gustav anti-tank rifles recovered by Kachin rebels from Myanmar government troops in ongoing clashes.

“The Swedish Agency for Non-Proliferation and Export Controls has requested an expedited answer from India and my state secretary has been in touch with India’s ambassador,” Trade Minister Ewa Björling told the Swedish parliament on Thursday, in comments reported by The Local.

Björling added that the ambassador has promised that India will cooperate with Sweden to investigate how the weapon ended up in Myanmar.

“There has been a weapons embargo in place against Burma for a very long time and Sweden hasn’t exported any weapons there since,” Björling said.

Photos taken by a Myanmar freelance photographer and published in the Swedish media this week show a Carl Gustav M3 anti-tank rifle and ammunition left behind by Myanmar government soldiers that were recovered by Kachin rebels after recent clashes.

The weapon’s serial number is clearly visible in one of the photographs.

Swedish defence group Saab, which manufactures the weapon, has previously said it did not sell the rifle to Myanmar and suggested its military must have obtained it from a third party.

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