Nay Pyi Taw: India said on Friday that it was ready to help Myanmar for the “safe, speedy and sustainable” return of tens of thousands of displaced Rohingya Muslims who fled to Bangladesh following a military crackdown, triggering one of the world’s worst refugee crises.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj discussed with Myanmar’s top leadership, including State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, the issues related to Rakhine State, where violence erupted in August 2016 when the military intensified crackdown against alleged militant outfits of Rohingya Muslims, sparking a mass exodus of refugees.
An estimated 7,00,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled Rakhine State since the military crackdown, resulting in a major crisis in neighbouring Bangladesh.
Swaraj, who arrived here on Thursday for a two-day visit, reiterated India’s readiness and commitment to help Myanmar in addressing issues related to Rakhine State, the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement.
She welcomed Myanmar government’s continued commitment to implementing the Rakhine Advisory Commission’s recommendations and noted that under the aegis of the bilateral Rakhine State Development Programme, India was already in the implementation stages of various projects that would respond to the needs of different sections of the Rakhine State population, it said.
“The first major project is the construction of prefabricated housing in Rakhine State to meet the needs of displaced persons,” the statement quoted her as saying.
“The Minister also underlined the need for safe, speedy and sustainable return of displaced persons to Rakhine State,” it said.
The UN and the US have said the violence against Rohingyas amounted to ethnic cleansing.
Myanmar authorities have said that military crackdown against the rebels was aimed at rooting out Rohingya militants who attacked police posts on the August 25.
According to the Red Cross estimates, only about 300,000 Rohingya remain in the entire state.
Myanmar and Bangladesh have reached a deal on the return of hundreds of thousands of Rohingyas that sidelined the UN refugee agency.
According to the agreement, which was finalised in Myanmar’s capital Nay Pyi Daw early last year, a two-year deadline has been set for the repatriation of the Rohingyas.