India reassures Bangladesh of diplomatic support on Rohingyas

More than 436,000 refugees have crossed the border from Myanmar's Rakhine state since August 25 when a military crackdown was launched following attacks on security forces allegedly by Rohingya militants.

By: PTI | Dhaka | Published: September 28, 2017 12:38 am
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj with Bangladesh’s Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali (File photo)

India on Wednesday reassured Bangladesh of extending “diplomatic and humanitarian” support on the Rohingya issue as Dhaka presented its case to the envoys of the UN Security Council member states here. More than 436,000 refugees have crossed the border from Myanmar’s Rakhine state since August 25 when a military crackdown was launched following attacks on security forces allegedly by Rohingya militants. “We are fully supportive of Bangladesh,” India’s High Commissioner to Bangladesh Harsh Vardhan Shringla said.

“We will continue to stand beside Bangladesh diplomatically and humanitarian way,” he said during an event to mark the signing of a cooperation deal between a Bangladeshi and an Indian health facility in the presence of Bangladesh’s Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali.

An Indian navy ship will tomorrow reach the southeastern port city of Chittagong with relief materials for Rohingyas, days after India rushed aid for the ethnic minority community.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj earlier expressed India’s full support to Bangladesh’s stance over Rohingya issue as international alarm is growing over the fate of the Rohingyas who continue to flee Rakhine State in Myanmar.

The Indian envoy’s comment came ahead of a meeting of Bangladesh’s foreign ministry with envoys of the Security Council member states here to explain its suggestions to resolve the crisis.

Bangladesh has put across its proposals to resolve the Rohingya crisis as the UN Security Council met on the issue, Ali said. “The Prime Minster (Sheikh Hasina) has already given a five-point proposal to resolve the crisis, we have sent suggestions to the Security Council on the basis of her proposal,” Ali told reporters after a meeting with envoys.

The 15-member UN Security Council met behind closed doors yesterday to step up its response to the exodus of 480,000 Rohingya Muslims after a military crackdown in Rakhine State.

The UN earlier condemned as “ethnic cleansing” and international community called “genocide” echoing Bangladesh’s concerns. Ali said Dhaka “does not want to go into a conflicting situation” as it expected smooth repatriation of “forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals”, who fled their home on the face a military offensive.

“We expect the Myanmar government to take steps for smooth repatriation of its nationals so they could go back their homeland safely with their rights ensured,” he said.

Envoys of the US, the UK, France, Russia, China, Sweden, Italy, Egypt and Japan were present in the meeting held at the State Guest House Padma here.

Ali said the envoys were called in to the diplomatic briefing as part of Dhaka’s efforts to “sensitise further” the crucial UN organ about the humanitarian crisis. He said that Bangladesh would also speak as the Security Council was set to hold an open debate on the issue at the UN headquarters in New York tomorrow.

The Council earlier met twice behind closed doors since the crisis began last month. Earlier this month, it issued a statement condemning the situation and urging Myanmar authorities to end the violence.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will publicly brief the Security Council tomorrow on the crisis as seven of the 15 member states have requested the meeting.

Ali said that the Union Minister for Office of the State Councillor U Kyaw Tint Swe was expected to arrive in Dhaka next month although the exact date was yet to be finalised.

Diplomats said the Security Council could consider adopting a formal statement if the situation does not improve. Myanmar earlier this month said it was negotiating with veto powers China and Russia to ensure its protection from any Security Council action.

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