In­dia for multi-di­men­sional ap­proach to Ro­hingya is­sue

Likely To Push For A Po­lit­i­cal So­lu­tion

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - TIMES NATION - @times­

New Delhi: PM Naren­dra Modi’s ap­par­ent en­dorse­ment of Myan­mar’s mil­i­tary crack­down on Ro­hingya ex­trem­ist groups set off alarm bells in Bangladesh and In­dia — though for dif­fer­ent rea­sons — and is likely to re­sult in a multi-di­men­sional ap­proach that will in­clude In­dia press­ing for a po­lit­i­cal so­lu­tion.

Within hours of Modi’s re­turn, his de­ci­sion to skip ad­dress­ing the refugee is­sue had the wires be­tween In­dia and Bangladesh buzzing and se­nior of­fi­cials con­ferred to tweak the In­dian ap­proach. Af­ter Bangladesh high com­mis­sioner Muazzem Ali met for­eign sec­re­tary S Jais­hankar, In­dia made a sig­nif­i­cant course cor­rec­tion, call­ing on Myan­mar to stop the vi­o­lence and con­trol the refugee out­flow.

From Wed­nes­day, In­dia has run daily flights with re­lief ma­te­rial for the Bangladesh govern­ment to deal with Ro­hingya refugees. The de­vel­op­ment comes even as the Supreme Court is hear­ing a pe­ti­tion chal­leng­ing the pro­posed de­por­ta­tion of il­le­gal Ro­hingya mi­grants and it re­mains a po­lit­i­cal is­sue for the BJP govern­ment, as ar­tic­u­lated by min­is­ter of state for home Kiren Ri­jiju.

But sift­ing through dis­parate state­ments and con­ver­sa­tions with se­nior govern­ment sources, show that a four-pronged pol­icy is be­ing worked on. This will find ar­tic­u­la­tion in the state­ments by for­eign min­is­ter Sushma Swaraj, who will lead the In­dian del­e­ga­tion to the UN Gen­eral As­sem­bly for the sec­ond time run­ning.

In­dia will con­tinue to sup­port Myan­mar’s right to go af­ter ARSA or AMM and any other Ro­hingya ter­ror group. In a state­ment of Septem­ber 9, the MEA stated, “We had ear­lier con­demned the ter­ror­ist at­tacks on Myan­mar se­cu­rity forces in Rakhine.The two coun­tries have since af- firmed their shared de­ter­mi­na­tion to com­bat ter­ror­ism and not al­low its jus­ti­fi­ca­tion un­der any pre­text.”

In ad­di­tion, In­dia will as­sist in the de­vel­op­ment of the Rakhine prov­ince as a means of tack­ling the prob­lem of de­pri­va­tion at its source. In­dia will also push Myan­mar to find a po­lit­i­cal so­lu­tion to the cri­sis. As Swaraj told Sheikh Hasina in a phone con­ver­sa­tion on Fri­day, In­dia will op­pose Myan­mar’s acts of push­ing Ro­hingyas into Bangladesh or other coun­tries.

The sit­u­a­tion can sub­stan­tially in­crease the pos­si­bil­ity of Pak­istan-based ter­ror groups like LeT, Al Qaeda and even ISIS ex­ploit­ing dis­placed Ro­hingyas for ter­ror ac­tiv­i­ties. There is enough ev­i­dence that a num­ber of Ro­hingyas have been rad­i­calised by such agen­cies.

In Bangladesh, which is al­ready bat­tling its own ter­ror­ist prob­lem, ad­di­tion of a rad­i­calised pop­u­la­tion could be used by op­po­si­tion Ja­maat and BNP for po­lit­i­cal ends.

Sources said the In­dian govern­ment will de­fend its right to evict il­le­gal mi­grants. The is­sue is po­lit­i­cally sen­si­tive for BJP which cam­paigned against such mi­gra­tion in the north-east states. The pres­ence of Ro­hingyas in Jammu has sparked more such fears. Oth­ers have pointed to ter­ror lead­ers like Zakir Musa sup­port­ing the Ro­hingyas as rea­son to de­port them.

While se­cu­rity con­cerns are still para­mount, Myan­mar faces the dif­fi­cult task of a po­lit­i­cal so­lu­tion to the Ro­hingya is­sue. This will be hard for state coun­sel­lor Aung San Suu Kyi as it will im­pact her sup­port among Bud­dhists, whose resur­gent na­tion­al­ism is one of the rea­sons for the Ro­hingyas’ plight. On the other hand, Sheikh Hasina is bat­tling with the prospect that state­less Ro­hingyas can be­come a po­lit­i­cal tool against her. Us­ing Kash­mir as a com­par­i­son point, Suu Kyi said, “Be­cause (there is) a large Mus­lim com­mu­nity in In­dia and in places like Kash­mir, you had this trou­ble of sort­ing out ter­ror­ists from in­no­cent cit­i­zens”.

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