India has an “abiding interest” in resolving crisis in Rakhine State

Chief of Army Staff General M.M. Naravane and Foreign Secretary Harsh V. Shringla along with Ambassador of India to Myanmar Saurabh Kumar called on State Counsellor Her Excellency Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, in Myanmar on October 5, 2020.  

India has an “abiding interest” in resolving the Rohingya refugee crisis which has disturbed the relationship between Myanmar and Bangladesh, an informed official source said. This information was shared with The Hindu after Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla and the Chief of the Army Staff Gen. Manoj Naravane held meetings  with the top politico-military leadership of Myanmar during  October 4-5 visit.'

“India as a close friend, partner and neighbour of both Bangladesh and Myanmar has a deep and abiding interest to see an early stabilisation of the situation in the Rakhine State. India supports safe, sustainable and speedy repatriation of displaced persons from Bangladesh to Rakhine State based on the understanding between the two countries,” official sources familiar with the discussion between the visitors from India and the Myanmarese officials said on Monday.

The statement came at the end of the discussions. The Rohingya issue has become a difficult subject to resolve as Myanmar has sent additional forces to the Rakhine State that Dhaka has strongly objected to in the recent weeks.

India and Myanmar signed the Project Agreement for the upgradation of the Agricultural Mechanisation Sub-Station under the MoU on the Rakhine State Development Programme. The programme was signed in December 2017. Mr. Shringla also met U Soe Han, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Gen. Naravane met Commander in Chief of Defence Services Senior General Min Aung Hlaing and Vice Senior General Soe Win, Deputy Commander in Chief. Significantly, both sides agreed to the “operationalisation of Sittwe port in the Rakhine State in the first quarter of 2021”, the MEA said.

Mr. Shringla and Gen. Naravane also presented 3,000 vials of Remdesivir to State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi as a symbol of support in its struggle against the pandemic. Mr. Shringla hinted at India’s desire to ‘prioritise’ Myanmar in sharing vaccines against the pandemic.

“Myanmar appreciated India’s decision to provide debt service relief under the G-20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative, up to December 31, 2020,” the MEA said. India declared a grant of $2 million for the construction of the border market (haat) bridge at Byanyu/Sarsichauk in Chin State which will provide greater connectivity between Mizoram and Myanmar. India also cleared 1.5 lakh tonnes of Urad dal (Vigna mungo) import from Myanmar.

An earlier version of this article incorrectly attributed a quote to  Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla. The error is regretted.

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2021 1:23:37 PM |

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