‘India to play vital role in return of Rohingyas’

Gautam Lahiri

1 March, 2021 12:00 AM printer

NEW DELHI: India has emphasised the need for an early return of displaced Rohingyas from Bangladesh to Myanmar, saying that it has the highest stake in resolving the issue since it is the only nation that shares a long border with both the countries.

Speaking at an informal UN General Assembly meeting on Friday on the situation in Myanmar after the military staged a coup this month, Indian UN envoy TS Tirumurti said India has a significant role to play in an early return of the displaced Rohingyas, who fled Myanmar due to what was being called 'ethnic cleansing'.

Bangladesh is currently hosting more than 1.1 million Rohingyas who fled Rakhine state of Myanmar and cross the border since August 2017 following a brutal military crackdown on the Muslim minorities, what the United Nations described as genocidal violence that follows decades of persecution and human rights abuses.

He said it must be ensured that the recent developments in the country do not impede the progress made so far and the international community must encourage and support positive steps.

Tirumurti, addressing the issue of displaced persons from Rakhine, said India has the highest stake in resolving the issue of repatriation of the displaced persons since it is the only country that shares a long border with both Bangladesh and Myanmar.

 “We have continued to counsel our partners on the need for a balanced and constructive approach to this issue. For this, mobilisation of support for the developmental needs of the local people is crucial. India has been consistently encouraging stakeholders to find practical and pragmatic solutions,” he said.

The UN diplomat has emphasised the need for an early resolution of the Rohingya issue.

Underscoring that a “collaborative and consensus-based approach” is key to arriving at a meaningful and practical outcome, Tirumurti said the international community must work to address the challenges that the concerned stakeholders continue to face so that this humanitarian problem is resolved in a timely manner.

 “India will continue to work with both the governments of Bangladesh and Myanmar to enable the earliest return of displaced persons to their homes in Rakhine state in a manner that is safe, speedy and sustainable," he said.

Commending Bangladesh for hosting over a million displaced persons in its territory, India said it is important for the international community to recognise and understand the humanitarian burden that Bangladesh continues to face and the efforts it has undertaken to ensure the well-being of the displaced persons.

“The international community must further support, financially and otherwise, efforts of the government of Bangladesh and also assist in ensuring that issues relating to radicalisation in the camps and other security challenges are addressed in an expeditious manner,” Tirumurti said.

"We continue to advise our partners on the need for a balanced and constructive approach to this issue. To this end, mobilising support for the development needs of the local population is essential.”

Referring to the recent army takeover, Tirumurti said New Delhi is deeply concerned that the gains made by Myanmar over the last decade on the path towards democracy should not get undermined.

As a "close friend and neighbour" of Myanmar and its people, the envoy said India will continue to closely monitor the situation and will remain in discussion with likeminded countries so that the "hopes and aspirations of the people are respected".

"We believe that the rule of law and democratic process must be upheld, those detained be released and that calm prevails. We call on the Myanmar leadership to work together to resolve their differences in a peaceful and constructive manner," he said.

"Restoring democratic order should be the priority of all stakeholders in Myanmar. The international community must lend its constructive support to the people of Myanmar at this critical juncture," he added.