Rohingya crisis: As Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s begins her visit to Bangladesh, experts are of the view that it is high time India mediated to find a solution to the burning Rohingya refugee crisis.
“I am optimistic (about Sushma Swaraj’s visit) as India enjoys cordial relations with Myanmar and has cooperative and friendly ties with Bangladesh,” Rajiv Bhatia, former Indian Ambassador to Myanmar, told IANS.
“Our very wise Foreign Minister has a role to play and a sustainable solution should be found for the Rohingyas,” he stated.
According to the latest figures issued by the UN office in Bangladesh, over 600,000 refugees have entered the country since August 25 after the Myanmarese army launched a crackdown on the minority Rohingya community following a series of attacks on security personnel in Myanmar’s Rakhine state. The Rohingyas do not enjoy citizenship status in Myanmar and are sparingly given refugee status in Bangladesh.
Khin Zaw Win, Director of the Yangon-based Tampadipa Institute that works on policy advocacy and capacity-building in Myanmar, too is of the view that India should play a role.
“The first thing New Delhi can do is to convene a tripartite meeting of India, Bangladesh and Myanmar,” Win said over phone from Yangon while pointing out that India and Myanmar enjoyed good ties. “China is trying to mediate, but I would rather prefer India to handle the matter. Remember there is no Rohingya in China, but they are there in India.
“There are around 40,000 Rohingya refugees in India, but the government has sent a clear message that it was not willing to accept them because of security concerns. The Supreme Court on October 13 asked the Centre to strike a balance between national security, economic interests and humanitarian considerations with regard to Rohingya women, children, old, sick and infirm, and listed the next hearing of the matter for November 21.
Earlier this month, in an interaction with the media here, Bangladesh High Commissioner Syed Muazzem Ali said that India, as the prime mover of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (Bimstec), should take greater initiatives to resolve the Rohingya crisis.
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