Posted on July 18, 2022
Indian port management company Adani Ports says it will divest from a joint-venture project with the military-owned Myanmar Economic Corporation (MEC) to build a container port in Yangon Ahlone Township.
The company, which has a long-term land rental agreement with MEC, said it expected to complete the process of withdrawing from the project by March or June of next year.
In a statement cited in a report by Reuters on Wednesday, the company said that it was making the move in response to sanctions imposed on junta-controlled companies by the US and UK governments.
“The company’s risk management committee, after a review of the situation, has decided to work on a plan on exiting the company’s investment in Myanmar, including exploring any divestment opportunities,” the statement said.
Justice For Myanmar, an organization investigating and exposing the military council’s human rights violations, released a statement on Thursday welcoming the company’s decision.
“Adani Ports must now find a way to exit responsibly by mitigating the impact on their Myanmar workers and recovering what they can of their $90 million payment to MEC so they do not leave a windfall for the terrorist Myanmar military,” it said.
“Contractors on the port, including ITD Cementation India and Singapore firms HSL Constructor Pte Ltd and Asia Infrastructure Ptd Ltd, must also ensure they cut all ties with the Myanmar military,” added Justice For Myanmar spokesperson Yadanar Maung.
Indian news outlet Hindu Business Line wrote that the contract to build the port under a Build, Operate, and Transfer (BOT) agreement was signed in May 2019 and that a total of $151 million had been invested in the project as of September 30.
A UN fact-finding mission formed in 2019 included Adani on a list of international companies that were at risk of complicity in human rights violations because of their cooperation with the Myanmar military.
In July, the World Bank released a statement saying that 11 major international companies had either halted operations in Myanmar or pulled out of the country altogether in the wake of the February 1 coup.
Companies from Japan, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Australia, France, and Norway were included among those that had suspended multi-million-dollar projects since the military seized power.
According to the World Bank report, foreign direct investment in Myanmar has plummeted amid growing instability in the country.