Development in Restive Rakhine: India, Myanmar ink deal
India and Myanmar yesterday signed a Memorandum of Understanding for socioeconomic development in Myanmar's restive Rakhine province and building prefabricated houses there to facilitate return of refugees from Bangladesh.
“Under the MoU, the Government of India proposes to take up, among others, a project to build prefabricated houses in Rakhine State so as to meet the immediate needs of returning people,” a statement issued by India's Ministry of External Affairs said.
The MoU was signed by Indian Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar, who is on a visit to Myanmar, and Myanmar Deputy Minister for Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement U Soe Aung.
The signing of the MoU is a follow-up of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's first official visit to Myanmar in September this year during which he pledged financial assistance for socioeconomic prosperity of Rakhine.
The MEA statement did not mention the word “Rohingya” but said the MoU “is intended to help the Government of Myanmar achieve its objective of restoration of normalcy in Rakhine State and enable the return of displaced persons.”
More than one million Rohingya refugees have fled “ethnic cleansing” and other forms of persecution in Rakhine to Bangladesh since August this year and the exodus continues.
The MoU is the first government-to-government agreement signed by the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement of Myanmar with a cooperation partner focussed on socioeconomic development and livelihood initiatives in Rakhine.
During the visit, Jaishankar called on Myanmar's State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, Union Minister in State Counsellor's Office U Kyaw Tint Swe and Union Minister for Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement Dr Win Myat Aye.
“All matters relating to bilateral cooperation, including follow-up on decisions taken during recent visit of the prime minister of India to Myanmar, as well as matters pertaining to Rakhine State were discussed during these meetings,” the MEA statement said.
The Indian foreign secretary also called on Commander in Chief of the Myanmar Defence Services Senior General Min Aung Hlaing and discussed all matters relating to security, bilateral cooperation as well as the situation in Rakhine, the statement added.