State counsellor addresses Rakhine attacks while in India
“WE as a nation are struggling to make the democratic culture take root,” State Counsellor Daw Aung Suu Kyi told reporters after meeting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi yesterday.
The state counsellor was on her first official visit to New Delhi where she attended the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) and the economic grouping of five nations known as BRICS. She returned to Yangon yesterday.
“We too have many challenges to face, but we are confident that these challenges can be overcome because our people are determined to overcome them,” she said at the joint press conference in New Dehli.
Her comments were made as the Tatmadaw conducts a manhunt in northern Rakhine State following a deadly attack on three border guard posts. According to the deputy minister for home affairs, 30 “attackers”, including two women, have been killed by security forces.
In a statement released on October 14, the President’s Office identified perpetrators of the October 9 assault as belonging to a terrorist group called Aqa Mul Mujahidin. The statement added that the attacks were long in the planning and “assisted by foreign funding”. Nearly 400 militants could owe allegiance to Aqa Mul Mujahidin, said the statement, adding that the man who organised them had received six months of training in Pakistan.
However, in an interview with the Hindustan Times published on October 18, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi sounded a note of caution over the certainty of those claims.
“We don’t know the full details. We don’t know when those six months were. And we are also told he had been receiving funding from various Islamic countries. That is just information from just one source – we can’t take it for granted that it’s absolutely correct,” she said.
The state counsellor has pledged to handle the situation in Rakhine State “fairly” and in accordance with the rule of law, but an association of 16 Rohingya advocacy organisations released a statement on October 16 alleging that the authorities’ security crackdown has been rife with human rights abuses that amount to “crimes against humanity”. And yesterday at a meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, Muslim heads of state called into question Myanmar’s treatment of the selfidentifying Rohingya population, many of whom continue to be confined to IDP camps and are denied citizenship.
At yesterday’s press conference with the state counsellor however, Prime Minister Modi said India stands “shoulder to shoulder” with Myanmar as it responds to the attacks.
State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi meets with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi yesterday.