Sushma Swaraj expresses solidarity with Bangladesh, says India pushing Myanmar to take back refugees


External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has expressed her solidarity with Bangladesh over the Rohingya crisis. A top aide of Bangladesh Prime Minister has confirmed, that India is putting pressure on Myanmar to take back refugees who have fled the Buddhist-majority nation.

Express Photo by Prem Nath Pandey

He further added that More than 300,000 Rohingyas are already living in Bangladesh and approximately 300,000 more Rohingyas have poured into the country since the latest outbreak in violence that commenced on August 25.

Prime Minister Shiekh Hasina deputy press secretary Nazrul Islam informed the media, “She (Swaraj) called our Prime Minister last night and conveyed her country’s solidarity with Bangladesh over the Myanmar refugee issue.”

He further added that Ms. Swaraj mentioned that this crisis is, by now, an international issue while India was trying to put “pressure bilaterally and multilaterally on Myanmar to stop persecution on ethnic minority Rohingya Muslims” and also take back the refugees who fled to Bangladesh.

According to the spokesman, Bangladesh PM, Hasina, on the other hand, said Bangladesh was forced to offer refuge to the refugees on humanitarian ground as they fled their home at Myanmar’s western Rakhine state to evade atrocities.

He also that said Hasina explained to Swaraj the helplessness and miseries of the refugees, particularly of the minor children and women, and expressed that Bangladesh was trying to address their basic needs.

“She (Hasina) told Swaraj that Bangladesh required external supports to handle the refugee issue and return them to Myanmar,” the spokesman said. Bangladesh government has allocated land for makeshift shelters of the Rohingyas “but, it will certainly create a big problem for Bangladesh if they stay for long”.

The premier’s spokesman said Indian High Commissioner in Dhaka Harsh Vardhan Shringla was present at the Hasina’s Ganabhaban residence when Swaraj had called.

Swaraj’s call came hours after the external affairs ministry issued a statement expressing India’s readiness to provide Bangladesh “any assistance” in tackling the refugee crisis.

In other story, India, yesterday, had rushed 53 tonnes of relief materials to Bangladesh and pledged all the help required to Dhaka in tackling the humanitarian crisis. Shringla said India will provide 7,000 tonnes of relief materials to Bangladesh.

Dhaka earlier said Bangladesh required India’s assistance in its efforts to handle the situation and send the refugees back home.

“The entire world today is worried with the Rohingya issue (and) their (India’s) concern and stand beside us is very crucial at this moment,” ruling Awami League general secretary and senior minister Obaidul Quader said earlier this week.

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