Officials say India has not done enough so far to help Bangladesh resolve the lingering problem
Amidst the well-founded perception of many that Delhi is not supporting Dhaka as it should to solve the Rohingya crisis, India has said once again that it is supportive of Bangladesh’s efforts to resolve the protracted problem affecting the latter badly.
India’s External Affairs Minister Dr Subrahmanyam Jaishankar expressed their support in a “recent” letter to his Bangladesh counterpart Dr AK Abdul Momen, said a Foreign Ministry press release on Saturday.
However, it did not mention the type of support India wanted to extend to solve the crisis.
“In a recent letter written to Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen, the Indian external affairs minister mentioned that the safe, speedy, and sustainable return of displaced persons to Myanmar is in the best interests of all concerned,” said the release, without mentioning the word Rohingya.
“This is also in the best interest of lasting regional security and stability,” it said quoting Jaishankar.
Jaishankar also expressed his deep admiration for Bangladesh for shouldering the burden of hosting over one million displaced people from Myanmar’s Rakhine state.
It is perceived by the majority in Bangladesh that India has significant leverage on Myanmar, and Delhi can do more than it has done so far regarding the Rohingya crisis.
Even on Saturday, Foreign Minister Momen sought India’s cooperation in order to take steps to mount stronger pressure on Myanmar to resolve the crisis.
At the concluding session of India-Bangladesh Friendship Dialogue at a hotel in Cox's Bazar, he said: “However, we need strong support on the Rohingya issue from India to ensure that Myanmar takes them back in a dignified manner from our country.”
There are many reasons to doubt whether India will come forward to support the way Bangladesh wants it to, due to its many geopolitical and economic interests in Myanmar.
Government officials concerned publicly do not acknowledge; but privately they admit that as the first neighbour, India has not done “anything close to enough” yet to help Bangladesh overcome the lingering crisis.
In all the voting at international forums regarding the Rohingya issue, India abstained rather than voting in favour of Bangladesh, they said.
India has even tried to push Rohingyas into Bangladesh from its territory, said the officials, observing that these developments do not reflect a helping neighbour.
So far, they pointed out, India’s visible contribution to the crisis has been some humanitarian aid for the refugees.
It is still unclear what kind of support was offered in Jaishankar’s letter, but it will be a good thing if Delhi now really supports Dhaka regarding this crisis, added the officials.