Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday emphasised that the “speedy, safe and sustainable” return of Rohingyas to their homes in Rakhine was in the interest of the region, the displaced people, and all three neighbouring States — India, Bangladesh and Myanmar.
Prime Minister Modi conveyed it to Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi during their meeting on the sidelines of the ASEAN-India Summit in Bangkok.
With regard to the situation in Rakhine, following the completion of the first Indian project to build 250 prefabricated houses, which were handed over to the Myanmar government this July, Modi expressed India’s readiness to carry out more socioeconomic projects in this State, according to the Indian Prime Minister’s Office.
Earlier, India reiterated its “supportive” approach towards Bangladesh’s efforts to resolve the Rohingya crisis that poses multidimensional challenges for Bangladesh and beyond.
In a recent letter written to Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen, his Indian counterpart Dr S Jaishankar mentioned that the “safe, speedy, and sustainable” return of displaced persons to Myanmar is in the best interests of all concerned.
“This is also in the best interest of lasting regional security and stability,” said the Indian External Affairs Minister.
Jaishankar also expressed deep admiration for Bangladesh in shouldering the burden of hosting the displaced people from Rakhine State in Myanmar, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs here.
Bangladesh is now hosting over 1.1 million Rohingyas who have fled their homeland in Rakhine State after being persecuted by their own country.
Myanmar did not take back a single Rohingya from Bangladesh over the last two years but Myanmar, in its attempts to “mislead” the international community, claimed that a total of 397 displaced people have voluntarily returned from Bangladesh to Myanmar.
Two repatriation attempts were unsuccessful as Myanmar “failed to remove trust deficit” among the Rohingyas and there was “lack of conducive environment” in Rakhine for their return.
On Wednesday, Bangladesh accused Myanmar of remaining engaged in a “persistent campaign” to mislead the international community to avoid its obligations for “sustained repatriation” and reintegration of the Rohingyas.
Dhaka also rejected “baseless accusations, falsification, and misrepresentation of facts” by Nay Pyi Taw, and urged it to stop concocted campaign and concentrate on the fulfillment of its obligations.
“Myanmar must act decisively to address the real causes that are preventing the displaced Rohingya from going back voluntarily,” said the Bangladesh Foreign Ministry.
The ministry said it was a “matter of utter dismay” to witness such tenacious campaign with fabricated information, misrepresentation of facts, unsubstantiated claims and undue accusations on part of Myanmar to mislead the international community.
Bangladesh said Myanmar should seriously consider a comprehensive participation of the international community in creating conducive environment for the return as well as in the monitoring of repatriation and reintegration process.
“Myanmar should also cooperate with the international community to eliminate the culture of impunity for the sake of a durable solution to the protracted problem,” the Foreign Ministry said.
Prime Minister Modi emphasized the priority India attaches to Myanmar as a partner at the crossroads of India’s Look East Policy and the Neighbourhood First policies.
Towards this end, he emphasised India’s continuing commitment to improving physical connectivity to and through Myanmar to Southeast Asia, including through building roads, ports and other infrastructures.
India will also continue to strongly support the expansion of capacity for Myanmar’s police, military and civil servants, as well as its students and citizens, says India’s Prime Minister’s Office.
Suu Kyi reaffirmed the importance her government attached to the partnership with India, and her appreciation of India’s consistent and sustained support for the widening of democracy and deepening of development in Myanmar.
The two leaders agreed that a stable and peaceful border was an important anchor for the continued expansion of their partnership.
The Prime Minister emphasised the value India attaches to Myanmar’s cooperation in ensuring that insurgent groups do not find space to operate across the India-Myanmar border.
The two leaders agreed to maintain the tempo of high level interactions in the year ahead, recognising that strong ties across all pillars of cooperation were in the fundamental interest of both the countries