A “deeply concerned” India today asked Myanmar to handle the situation in the Rakhine state with “maturity and restraint” while focusing on the welfare of the civilian population along with that of the security forces and asserted that it was imperative that violence ends there. The Indian statement came in the backdrop of the continuous exodus of Rohingya Muslims from the Buddhist- majority country in the wake of violence against them. In a statement, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said that India remains “deeply concerned” about the situation in the Rakhine state and the outflow of refugees from that region. “We would urge that the situation in Rakhine state be handled with restraint and maturity, focusing on the welfare of the civilian population alongside those of security forces. It is imperative that violence is ended and normalcy in the state restored expeditiously,” the statement said. The statement also referred to India’s strong condemnation of the terrorist attacks on Myanmar security forces in the Rakhine state. The two countries have since affirmed their shared determination to combat terrorism and not allow its justification under any pretext, it said.
The Indian statement came even as Bangladesh High Commissioner Syed Muazzem Ali called on Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar to discuss the issue. Nearly 300,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled to Bangladesh from Myanmar’s Rakhine state since August 25 when the fresh wave of violence erupted. However, the MEA statement made no mention of the meeting. During prime minister’s recent visit to Myanmar this week, he had expressed his concern at the casualties of security forces as well as other innocent lives, the MEA statement said.
He had also urged a solution based on respect for peace, communal harmony, justice, dignity and democratic values, it added. The statement also noted that during the prime minister’s Myanmar visit it was agreed that India would provide assistance under the Rakhine State Development Programme in conjunction with the Myanmarese government. India had refused to be a part of a declaration adopted at an international conference recently in Indonesia as it carried “inappropriate” reference to violence in Rakhine state.
An Indian parliamentary delegation, led by Speaker Lok Sabha Sumitra Mahajan, dissociated itself from the ‘Bali Declaration’ adopted at the ‘World Parliamentary Forum on Sustainable Development’ held in Indonesia. According to media reports, the violence began when Rohingya militants attacked police posts in Myanmar’s northern Rakhine state. Rohingya residents — a stateless mostly Muslim minority — allege that the military and Rakhine Buddhists responded with a brutal campaign against them, according to the reports.