India said today that it shares Myanmar’s concerns over “extremist violence” in the Rakhine state and asked all stakeholders to preserve the country’s unity and territorial integrity, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi held talks with State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi. Modi’s first bilateral visit here comes at a time when the Myanmarese government led by Nobel laureate Suu Kyi is facing international pressure over the 125,000 Rohingya refugees that have poured across the Bangladeshi border in just two weeks after Myanmar’s military launched a crackdown in the Rakhine state.
Modi, in his joint press statement with Suu Kyi after the talks, said India understands the problems being faced by Myanmar. He said India shares Myanmar’s concerns over “extremist violence” in the Rakhine state, especially the loss of innocent lives of the people and the military personnel.
“When it comes to a big peace process or finding a solution to a problem, we hope that all stakeholders can work together towards finding a solution which respects the unity and territorial integrity of Myanmar,” Modi said. At the same time, the solution can bring about peace, justice and dignity for all, he said. Suu Kyi, in her remarks, thanked India for taking a strong stand on the terror threat that Myanmar faced recently. Rohingya militants raided police posts in Myanmar’s Rakhine state last month, killing 12 security personnel.
She said together India and Myanmar can ensure that terrorism is not allowed to take root on their soil or on the soil of neighbouring countries. The meeting between Modi and Suu Kyi came on a day she was quoted as telling Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that global outrage over Myanmar’s treatment of its Rohingya Muslims was being fuelled by “a huge iceberg of misinformation”.
Sympathy for the Rohingya was being generated by “a huge iceberg of misinformation calculated to create a lot of problems between different communities and with the aim of promoting the interest of the terrorists”, Suu Kyi was quoted by an official statement as telling Erdogan in a call. Suu Kyi has come under fire in recent days for failing to speak out against violence targeting Rohingyas, particularly given her previous image as a champion of human rights. Hundreds have died since Rohingya militants raided police posts in Myanmar’s Rakhine State last month.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has also called for the Muslims of Rakhine state to be given either nationality or legal status, and voiced concern about violence that has since late August forced nearly 125,000 people to flee and risk destabilising the region.