Stop funding nuke firms, NGO tells financial institutions

New Delhi: A foreign NGO today claimed that more than 300 financial institutions, including some Indian firms, have exposure to 20 major nuclear weapons companies across the world and urged them to stop these investments.

The NGO, International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), has also named Indian conglomerate Larsen and Toubro (L&T), which has done some work for Indian Navy and the missile system, in a report released today.

An Indian Navy submarine. Image courtesy PIB

"L&T is involved in the design and construction of five nuclear-armed submarines for the Indian navy, each of which will be equipped with 12 missiles. The company has also tested a launch system for India's nuclear missiles," it said.

The Indian financial institutions named in the report are either the lenders or shareholders of Indian manufacturing giant L&T and some have participated in the past share or bond offerings of the company.

The report has listed names of Edelweiss Capital, Equirus Capital, General Insurance Corp, ICICI Bank, JM Financial, Kotak Mahindra Bank, L&T Employees Welfare Foundation, LIC, New India Assurance Co, Reliance Anil Ambani group, SBI, UTI Asset Management and Yes Bank for their exposure to L&T.

ICICI Bank has also been named for having a bond offering and loan related exposure to the US-based Boeing Co.

The report said that nuclear disarmament campaigners are appealing to financial institutions to stop investing in the nuclear arms industry.

"Any use of nuclear weapons would violate international law and have catastrophic humanitarian consequences. By investing in nuclear weapons producers, financial institutions are in effect facilitating the build-up of nuclear forces," ICAN campaigner and a co-author of the report Tim Wright said.

"Nuclear-armed nations spend in excess of USD 100 billion each year maintaining and modernizing their nuclear forces," ICAN said.

"Much of this work is carried out by corporations such as BAE Systems and Babcock International in the UK, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman in the US, Thales and Safran in France, and L&T in India.

Financial institutions invest in these companies by providing loans and purchasing shares and bonds," it added.

ICAN said that out of 322 such financial institutions, roughly half are based in the US and a third in Europe, while there are institutions from Asia, Australia and the Mid-East.

The institutions most heavily involved in financing nuclear arms makers include Bank of America, BlackRock and JP Morgan Chase in the US, BNP Paribas in France, Allianz and Deutsche Bank in Germany, Mistubishi UFJ Financial in Japan, Credit Suisse and UBS in Switzerland, and Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds and Royal Bank of Scotland in Britain.


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Updated Date: Mar 05, 2012 17:23:33 IST