Last Updated: 23 November 2012

Mine Action

Contamination and Impact


India is contaminated with mines, mainly as a result of mine-laying by government forces on and near the northwestern border with Pakistan during the 2001–2002 stand-off between the two countries. Antipersonnel and antivehicle mines were laid on cultivated land and pasture, as well as around infrastructure and a number of villages.[1]

In its Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) Amended Protocol II Article 13 report submitted in November 2005, India claimed that it had concluded mine clearance operations along its northern and western borders and that all arable land had been cleared and returned to its owners except land required “for operational purposes.”[2] Defence Minister Arackaparambil Kurien Antony repeated the claim in March 2008.[3]

India’s Engineer-in-Chief’s Staff Directorate reported in 2009 that “all mines laid during Operation Parakaram[4] were recovered/cleared (99.32%) by 2006.” It stated that the very few stretches where demining was not possible “due to terrain conditions” were fenced in accordance with “UN protocols.” According to media reports, in February 2010 the Indian Army had transferred to farmers more than 360,170m² of land along the Indo-Pakistan border near Akhnoor, 35km north of Jammu, after two months of clearance operations. The army said the landmines were laid during Operation Parakaram over an area of 2.3km² and that demining operations would continue to clear the remaining affected areas.[5]

Unofficial estimates cited in the Indian media, however, put the area still contaminated in 2007 at 160km2 of Jammu and 1,730km2 of Kashmir.[6] An army officer interviewed in 2009 said no official assessment had been made of the extent of remaining contamination but that such estimates could still be correct.[7] After landmine explosions in Jammu’s border district of Athua and near the Line of Control in Akhnoor in 2010, media reports cited local sources as saying that 10% to 15% of the mines laid in Operation Parakaram were never found.[8]

Military authorities acknowledge that areas prone to infiltration by militants are still mined but say the areas are clearly marked. However, they also say heavy rainfall, snow, mudslides, and avalanches can cause mines to move.[9]

Other explosive remnants of war

The extent of India’s problem with explosive remnants of war (ERW) is not known, but it contends with increased use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) by non-state armed groups (NSAGs), notably in four states affected by Maoist insurgency (Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkand and Orissa); media reports show this increased use of IEDs has resulted in extensive casualties.[10] In recent months, there have also been media reports of IED incidents or discoveries in Assam.[11] In its latest Article 10 report under CCW Protocol V on ERW, India declined to provide information on the extent of ERW contamination or steps it has taken to address the problem.[12]

Mine Action Program

Key institutions and operators


Situation on 1 January 2012

National Mine Action Authority


Mine action center


International demining operators


National demining operators

Army Corps of Engineers, Police

India has no civilian mine action program and no structured mechanism to address the problems from mines and ERW.[13] Its international point of contact for clearance activities is the Disarmament and International Security Affairs Division within the Ministry of External Affairs. The Director-General of Military Operations decides on mine clearance after receiving assessment reports from the command headquarters of the respective districts where mine clearance is needed.[14]

The Army Corps of Engineers is responsible for clearing mines as well as IEDs placed by NSAGs.[15] Media reports indicate police also play an active part in clearing mines and IEDs in states dealing with insurgency.[16]

Land Release

India does not report publicly on its release of suspected hazardous areas. Its latest Amended Protocol II Article 13 and Protocol V Article 10 reports contain no information on any clearance within its borders.[17]

The government reportedly decided in mid-2010 that it would not deploy troops to areas affected by a Naxalite (Maoist) insurgency and would instead recruit some 1,100 retired army engineers to conduct mine clearance there. The engineers would work on contract and would be attached to paramilitary units, reports said.[18]

Army bomb disposal experts started the destruction of some 17,000 items of ordnance imported as scrap (probably from Persian Gulf countries) by steel companies based in the Punjab. The munitions included artillery shells, mortar bombs, rockets, grenades and detonators. Media reports indicate the munitions were found in 2004 but destruction began only in November 2010.[19]

Mine action by non-state armed groups

One NSAG, the Zomi Re-Unification Organisation, has reported to Geneva Call that it has marked a number of dangerous areas that had not been cleared by the Indian Army in northeast India.[20]


[1] The army reports the following numbers of mines seized in Jammu and Kashmir: 386 in 2000; 264 in 2001; 111 in 2002; 163 in 2003; 71 in 2004; 69 in 2005; and 59 in 2006 (to 30 April). Information obtained from,, accessed 23 September 2011.

[2] CCW Amended Protocol II Article 13 Report, Form B, 23 November 2005.

[3]Ex-gratia sanctioned for 353 landmine casualties: Antony,” (New Delhi), 17 March 2008.

[4] After the 13 December 2001 attack on the Indian Parliament, Operation Parakram was launched in which tens of thousands of Indian troops were deployed along the border with Pakistan.

[5] “Army demines land, hands over to locals,” Press Trust of India,, 16 February 2010; “Army hands over land to villagers in Jammu and Kashmir,” Headlines India, 17 February 2010.

[6] Sarwar Kashani, “Kashmir in a death trap of landmines,” India eNews, 24 June 2007.

[7] Interview with army officer on condition of anonymity, Jammu and Kashmir, 14 May 2009.

[8] Archie Watts, “Landmine blasts create panic,” Tribune News Service, 7 March 2010.

[9] Landmine Monitor interviews in Baramulla and Kupwara districts, Jammu and Kashmir, March 2006.

[10] See, for example, reports that more than 150 members of security forces engaged in anti-insurgency operations in mine protected vehicles have been killed in the past two years: Vishwa Nowan, “Security forces asked to shun armoured vehicles in Naxal areas,The Times of India, 17 October 2011.

[11]Assam: bomb recovered from school playground,” IBNLive, 26 January 2012; and “Three powerful IEDs found in Assam,The Hindu, 1 August 2011.

[12] See Protocol V Article 10 Report for the period April 2011 to 31 March 2012.

[13] Interview with army officer speaking on condition of anonymity, New Delhi, 18 February 2008.

[14] Ibid., 30 March 2008.

[15] CCW Amended Protocol II Article 13, Form B, 6 November 2006.

[16] See, for example, “Landmine Blast injures three jawans,” Statesmen News Service (Malkangiri), 11 December 2007.

[19] Alkesh Sharma, “Indian Army’s scrap munition disposal a learning experience,” Headlines India, 30 November 2010.

[20] Email from Katherine Kramer, Programme Director Asia, Geneva Call, 28 April 2010.