Last Updated: 30 August 2013

Cluster Munition Ban Policy

The Republic of India has not acceded to the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

India did not make any statements regarding the convention in 2012 or the first half of 2013. In November 2011, India stated, “We share the international community’s concerns about the humanitarian impact of the irresponsible use of cluster munitions” but “believe that the use of cluster munitions is legitimate if it is in accordance with international humanitarian law.”[1]

India has called for “effective regulation rather than the prohibition on the use” of cluster munitions.[2] It has long expressed its preference for cluster munitions to be tackled through the framework of the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) to which it is party. It is not known if India is reviewing its position on joining the ban convention following the CCW’s failure in November 2011 to agree on a draft protocol on cluster munitions.

India did not participate in the Oslo Process that produced the Convention on Cluster Munitions, but attended a regional meeting on cluster munitions in Lao PDR in October 2008.[3] India has not participated in any international or regional meetings related to the Convention on Cluster Munitions since 2008. It was invited to, but did not attend, the convention’s Third Meeting of States Parties in Oslo, Norway in September 2012.

India is not party to the Mine Ban Treaty.

Use, production, transfer, and stockpiling

The Monitor has not been able to verify any use of cluster munitions by India. The size and precise content of India’s stockpile of cluster munitions is not known.

As recently as 2006, the India Ordnance Factories had advertised the capacity to produce for export 130mm and 155mm artillery projectiles containing dual purpose improved conventional munition (DPICM) submunitions, which are equipped with a self-destruct feature.[4] These projectiles are the result of a transfer of production technology from Israel Military Industries and were slated to be produced at Khamaria Ordnance Factory near Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh.[5]

However, information from June 2012 raises doubts about whether this capacity has been active in recent years. In response to a Right to Information request, an official in the Ammunition Division of the Ordnance Factory Board stated that India did not produce any cluster munitions in 2011 and said that India does not produce 130mm and 155mm artillery containing DPICM submunitions, but that a 130mm version is under development.[6]

In addition to artillery projectiles, the Defence Research and Development Organization of the Ministry of Defence has produced a cargo rocket containing antitank/antimaterial submunitions for the 214mm Pinaka multi-barrel rocket system.[7] Other sources have claimed that warheads containing submunitions were developed for the Agni, Dhanush, and Prithvi missile systems.[8]

India has also imported cluster munitions. Jane’s Information Group lists India as possessing KMG-U dispensers, as well as BL-755, BLG-66 Belouga, RBK-250/275, and RBK-500 cluster bombs.[9] In February 2006, India bought 28 launch units for the Russian-produced 300mm Smerch multi-barrel rocket launchers fitted with dual-purpose and sensor-fuzed submunitions; it was the third export customer for the system.[10]

The United States (US) announced in September 2008 that, at the request of India, it was intending to sell 510 CBU-105 air-dropped Sensor Fuzed Weapons.[11] The US has attached a term to the transfer, in compliance with Public Law 110-161 (26 December 2008), which requires that the submunitions have a 99% or higher reliability rate and stipulates that “the cluster munitions will only be used against clearly defined military targets and will not be used where civilians are known to be present.”[12] In December 2010, the manufacturer of the sensor-fuzed weapons stated it had been awarded a US$258 million contract to supply India with 512 CBU-105 Sensor Fuzed Weapons, and in February 2011 the manufacturer announced that it had started production of the weapons to meet the order.[13] The Indian Air Force was expected to receive the weapons in early 2013.[14] In February 2013, US arms manufacturer Textron included the CBU-105 Sensor Fuzed Weapon at its display at an arms show in Bangalore.[15]


[1] Statement of India, Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) Fourth Review Conference, Geneva, 14 November 2011,$file/4thRevCon_INDIA.pdf. India has often made similar statements in the past: statement of India, CCW Group of Governmental Experts on Cluster Munitions, Geneva, 30 August 2010. Notes by Action on Armed Violence (AOAV); and statement of India, CCW Group of Governmental Experts on Cluster Munitions, Geneva, 12 April 2010. Notes by AOAV.

[2] Statement by Amb. Hamid Ali Rao, Permanent Mission of India, Conference on Disarmament, CCW Group of Governmental Experts on Cluster Munitions, Geneva, 7 July 2008. He said that “until [cluster munitions] can be replaced by other alternatives which are cost effective and perform the required military tasks, [cluster munitions] will continue to find a place in military armories as both point target as well as area target weapons.”

[3] For more details on Indias policy and practice regarding cluster munitions through early 2009, see Human Rights Watch and Landmine Action, Banning Cluster Munitions: Government Policy and Practice (Ottawa: Mines Action Canada, May 2009), pp. 208–210.

[4] The 130mm projectile contains 24 submunitions, and the 155mm projectile contains 49 submunitions. India Ordnance Factories,

[5] “Ordnance Board to produce ‘cargo ammunition’ with Israeli company,” The Hindu (online edition), 6 August 2006,

[6] Response to Right to Information request submitted by Control Arms Foundation of India from T.J. Konger, Director and Central Public Information Officer, Ordnance Factory Board, Ministry of Defence, 6 June 2012.

[7] Leland S. Ness and Anthony G. Williams, eds., Jane’s Ammunition Handbook 2007–2008 (Surrey, UK: Jane’s Information Group Limited, 2007), p. 715.

[8] Duncan Lennox, ed., Jane’s Strategic Weapons Systems 46 (Surrey, UK: Jane’s Information Group Limited, January 2007), pp. 49–56 and 85–87; and Duncan Lennox, ed., Jane’s Strategic Weapons Systems 42 (Surrey, UK: Jane’s Information Group Limited, January 2005), pp. 85–87.

[9] Robert Hewson, ed., Jane’s Air Launched Weapons, Issue 44 (Surrey, UK: Jane’s Information Group Limited, 2004), p. 840. While there is no information about specific transfers, the manufacturers are the United Kingdom (BL-755), France (BLG-66), and Russia/USSR (RBKs).

[10] “India, Russia sign $500 mn [sic] rocket systems deal,” Indo-Asian News Service (New Delhi), 9 February 2006. Each Smerch rocket can carry five sensor-fuzed submunitions and either 72 or 646 dual-purpose, high explosive submunitions.

[11] US Defense Security Cooperation Agency, Department of Defense, “India: CBU-105 Sensor Fuzed Weapons,” Transmittal No. 08-105, Press release, 30 September 2008.

[12] Letter from Vice-Adm. Jeffrey A. Wieringa to Senator Robert C. Byrd, 26 September 2008. The law prohibits the export of cluster munitions that do not have a 99% or higher reliability rate.

[13] Craig Hoyale, “India signs Sensor Fused Weapon deal,” Flightglobal, 10 December 2010,; and Craig Hoyale, “AERO INDIA: Textron launches production of CBU-105 sensor fuzed weapon for India,” Flightglobal, 10 February 2011,

[14] Jay Menon, “IAF To Receive Sensor Fuzed Weapons In 2013” Aviation Week, 9 November 2012,

[15] Photographs from Aero India 2013 sent to Control Arms Foundation of India by a journalist at the event. Email from Binalakshmi Neepram, Director, Control Arms Foundation of India, 6 February 2013.