Whose mines are they?

By Mark Hiznay, Senior Researcher – Arms Division, Human Rights Watch.

The headline on the website of New Delhi Television (NDTV) in January was attention grabbing, “Pak landmines planted on Indian soil: Army releases pictures.” Citing Indian military sources and repeatedly showing still pictures of the mines, the allegation was straight forward: landmines “were planted on Indian soil by Pakistani troops.”

Little more was publicly said about this incident in the media and neither India nor Pakistan mentioned the allegation at meetings of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) in April 2013 in Geneva.

Below is an annotated screen grab of the one of the photos used:

India%20Pak%20mines%20Jan%202013.resize

What makes this particular picture interesting is that there are actually two mine types present:

  • three P4Mk1 antipersonnel mines are grouped together on the left.  This mine is produced by Pakistan.
  • The two mines on the right, however, are Indian produced antipersonnel mines called APNM14, which is a copy of the US M-14 antipersonnel mine.

Both mines have low metal content and are difficult to detect using common metal detectors.  Amended Protocol II of the CCW requires that these mines be modified to ensure detection prior to their use.  One cannot tell from the pictures if the mines have been modified.

But it is very curious to see Indian produced antipersonnel mines in photos released by the Indian military to illustrate mine use by Pakistan.

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