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India to help settle Rohingya back in Rakhine

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj arrives to meet Myanmar’s President Win Myint in Nay Pyi Taw on Thursday.   | Photo Credit: AP

India on Friday urged Myanmar to ensure the safe return of Rohingya citizens now staying in refugee camps in Bangladesh.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj took up the issue and promised India’s help during her two-day trip to Myanmar, where she sealed a landmark land border-crossing agreement with the country.

“The External Affairs Minister also reiterated India’s readiness and commitment to helping the Government of Myanmar in addressing issues related to Rakhine state. The Minister ... underlined the need for safe, speedy and sustainable return of displaced persons to the Rakhine state,” the External Affairs Ministry said in a press note on Friday.

The Minister informed Myanmar that India was on track to complete a project to set up prefabricated housing for the Rohingya population returning from their present camps in Bangladesh.

Pressure from Dhaka

Bangladesh, in recent months, has repeatedly urged India to intervene and pressure Myanmar to take back its citizens who are living in difficult circumstances on Bangladeshi territory. Both Myanmar and Bangladesh are members of the BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) regional grouping, which is expected to hold a summit later this year.

During the visit, the Minister met U Win Myint, President of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, and held consultations with State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and the Commander-in-Chief of the Myanmar Defence Services, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing. Both sides discussed security-related issues and the ongoing operation in the Rakhine province.

Ms. Swaraj welcomed the Myanmar government’s commitment to implementing the Rakhine Advisory Commission’s recommendations.

She said that India was in the process of implementing several projects to help various sections of the population in Rakhine state.

India and Myanmar also concluded the Agreement on Land Border Crossing, which will allow people from both sides to cross the border with passport and visa for health and educational needs and tourism.

Training programme

An agreement on training of Myanmar Foreign Service officers and another on assistance to the Joint Ceasefire Monitoring Committee were signed.

The committee monitors the ceasefire implemenation between the government of Myanmar and ethnic militant organisations that was announced in 2015.

Reflecting cultural ties between the two sides, Ms. Swaraj sealed a memorandum of understanding on restoration of earthquake-damaged pagodas in the famed Buddhist tourism centre of Bagan.


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Printable version | Jun 22, 2021 9:17:29 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/external-affairs-minister-sushma-swaraj-on-a-two-day-visit-to-myanmar/article23853277.ece

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