While meeting Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina during her official visit, Indian Foreign Minister Shushma Swaraj has said Myanmar must take back the Rohingyas that had sought refuge in Bangladesh after facing violence in their home state of Rakhine.
Sushma is on a two-day official visit in Bangladesh and she met with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at the Ganabhaban in the evening after attending the 4th meeting of Joint Consultative Commission (JCC) with Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali in the afternoon.
PM’s Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim briefed reporters after the meeting. He said, quoting the Indian foreign minister, “Myanmar must take back their nationals.”
More than 5 lakh Myanmar nationals were forced to flee into neighbouring Bangladesh since August as the Rakhine state has been in a volatile after Myanmar army’s ethnic cleansing campaign started.
Bangladesh has hosted the huge number of refugees on humanitarian grounds but the government has been pushing Myanmar to take back and rehabilitate them.
Without saying the word ‘Rohingya’, Sushma said Myanmar must take back the refugees. She however, mentioned that terrorists of ARSA (Arakan Salvation Army) must face punishments for their crimes as well.
Back in August 25, Rohingya rebels attacked army and police outposts in Rakhine and then the Myanmar government launched military campaigns against the minorities. The victims have cited mass murder, rape and arson attacks against the Rohingya Muslims.
The Indian Foreign Minister said the huge number of refugees are a burden for Bangladesh.
“How long will Bangladesh bare this burden? There must be a permanent solution for this,” Sushma said during the meeting with PM Sheikh Hasina.
Sushma Swaraj called on the international community to contribute in developing the socio-economic state of Rakhine.
Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali, PM’s international affairs adviser Gowher Rizvi, Bangladesh ambassador to India Moazzem Ali and PM’s Chief Secretary Kamal Abdul Naser were present during the meeting with the Indian Foreign Minister.
Indian Foreign Secretary Joyshankar and Indian ambassador to Dhaka Harsha Vardan Sringla accompanied Sushma Swaraj during the meeting.
Before the meeting, India handed over some weapons used during Bangladesh’s Liberation War by the Muktijoddhas and Indian army personnel.
As a token of good will, India presented an used MI Helicopter, two tanks and 25 different firearms for exhibiting in Bangladesh.