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India Denies Planning to Sell Helicopters to Burma


India is denying allegations by a human rights group that it plans to sell military helicopters to Burma in violation of a European Union arms embargo.

An Indian foreign ministry spokesman, Navtej Sarna, said Tuesday the allegations by Amnesty International are "completely baseless."

The London-based human rights group said in a report Monday that India's government plans to transfer Advanced Light Helicopters to Burma that are built with European components and technology.

The group also said that if India sells the helicopters to Burma, the European states that supplied the parts (Belgium, Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Sweden) would be violating an EU arms embargo on Burma's military rulers.

India has increased military cooperation with Burma during the past year. In May, India agreed to supply Burma with military equipment to fight anti-Indian separatist groups along the two countries' common border.

The United States and the European Union have kept strong sanctions in force against Burma due to the military government's poor human rights record and its failure to hand over power to winners of the country's last free election in 1990.

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