Military of myanmar is producing a wide variety of weapons with the help of supplies from companies in at least 13 countries, including the us, france, india, and japan. this is despite the western-led sanctions intended to isolate myanmar. the weapons are not being used to defend the country’s borders, as myanmar has never been attacked by a foreign country since 1950, and does not export any arms. the military has killed more than 2,600 people since the most recent coup, with the real death toll thought to be 10 times higher.
Production of weapons has been ongoing for decades, and as many as 25 factories are currently in operation, making it difficult for some companies to avoid the sanctions. myanmar showcased a range of weapons at a thai weapons trade fair in 2019. during the inn din massacre, soldiers carrying made-in-myanmar rifles were seen, and high-precision machines made by the austrian supplier gfm steyr are used in several locations to manufacture gun barrels. when the machines need maintenance, they are reportedly shipped to taiwan, where gfm steyr technicians restore them before they are returned to myanmar.
Is unclear whether the austrian company’s technicians are aware they are working on things that will be used inside myanmar. ronan lee, doctoral lecturer at loughborough university london, expresses that myanmar is close to internal state collapse. calls for the international community to pressure the military to stop creating weapons that will be used against civilians are increasing.