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Pakistan still has 6 MILLION landmines, India third with 4 million

Last updated on: December 05, 2014 09:02 IST
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The watch your step sign on wet floors should take a critical meaning in a field of landmines where one wrong move could prove fatal. It seems such fields may not be uncommon in nations of the world hoarding anti-personnel landmines. According to a freshly released report, Pakistan has a stockpile of six million anti-personnel landmines, the second-largest in the world. Not to be left behind, India placed third on the list released by Nobel-prize winning group the International Campaign to Ban Landmines.

The ‘Landmine Monitor 2014’, released on Wednesday, identified 11 states namely China, Cuba, India, Iran, Myanmar, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, and Vietnam as potential producers of anti-personnel mines. The report states that India has a stockpile of over four million anti-personnel landmines, the third largest cache in the world.

A sapper holds a land mine in the eastern Ukrainian village near Sloviansk. Russia has topped the list of nations with the largest stockpile of anti-personnel landmines.

The report said that although most of these countries are not active landmine producers but they reserve the right to do so. However, India, Myanmar, Pakistan and South Korea are still believed to be producing the mines, the report said.

Afghan refugees look at explosives and mines at an UNHCR office in Pakistan, which has ranked second on the list.

Of the 35 states that are not party to the Mine Ban Treaty, almost 31 are stockpiling the weapon. Pakistan was a distant second though, with its massive stock outdone by Russia's whopping 26.5 million stockpile.

Hoshiyar Ali, a retired major general in the Kurdish peshmerga forces, defuses a landmine at a minefield in Halabja near Sulaimaniya, 260 km northeast of Baghdad. Photograph: Jamal Penjweny/Reuters

India stands third on the list with 4-5 million anti-personnel landmines.

While Afghanistan is not comparable in its stockpile, the report adds that it is one of the most heavily mined countries in the world. Afghan refugees are made to go through detailed programs before they can re-enter their nation, for fears of unused Soviet landmines as well as those laid during the Taliban regime, loom large in the region.

Unfortunately, there is no credible estimate of the total number of mines placed worldwide.

According to estimates prior to the start of the global effort to ban cluster munitions, 91 countries stockpiled millions of cluster munitions containing more than 1 billion submunitions. At least 19 of these states have destroyed their stockpiled cluster munitions, while 18 parties are in the process of destruction.

Indian army soldiers demonstrate how they check for landmines to the media on a road, which connects Kashmir and Pakistan-administered Kashmir. India has placed third on the list released by the International Campaign to Ban Landmines. Photograph: Fayaz Kabli/Reuters

According to available information, 28 states parties have stockpiled more than 1.4 million cluster munitions containing 177 million submunitions prior to the start of any destruction activities.

Cambodian soldiers stand near different components of a landmine displayed at the Demining Center in Kampong Speu province. Photograph: Samrang Pring/Reuters

A total of 22 states parties have declared the destruction of 1.03 million cluster munitions containing 122 million submunitions as of July 2013. This represents the destruction of 71 per cent of the cluster munitions and 69 per cent of submunitions declared stockpiled by states parties.

A destroyed military vehicle is seen near a landmine warning sign just outside the eastern Russian border. Russia has topped the list, with a 26 million stockpile. Photograph: Gleb Garanich/Reuters

The vast majority of states outside of the convention on cluster munitions that stockpile the weapon have not disclosed detailed information on the quantities, types, or other information.

Ugandan Africa Union peacekeepers stand near a cache of landmines found hidden under a building in Mogadishu. Photograph: Shabelle Media/Reuters

Thus it is not possible, given what is known, to make a valid global estimate of quantities in stockpiles.

The report adds that in 2013, a global total of 3,308 landmine borne casualties were recorded. 

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