Sushma Swaraj says India ready to help Myanmar for 'safe, sustainable' return of displaced Rohingya Muslims

Nay Pyi Taw: India said on Friday 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.

Myanmar's President Win Myint shakes hands with visiting External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj during their meeting at the President House in Naypyitaw, Myanmar. AP

Myanmar's President Win Myint shakes hands with visiting External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj during their meeting at the President House in Naypyitaw, Myanmar. AP

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 the 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 in Nay Pyi Taw on Thursday on 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 the 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 25 August.

According to the Red Cross estimates, only about 3,00,000 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.


Updated Date: May 11, 2018 18:17 PM

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