India will continue to engage with Myanmar to pursue safe and sustainable repatriation of lakhs of displaced people who have fled Rakhine State, an Indian diplomat in Dhaka said yesterday.
Talking to The Daily Star, he said his country remained highly supportive to ensure safe return of the displaced people to their homeland, but it didn't support any forceful approach that might turn counterproductive.
“We also spoke to Myanmar authorities and urged them to implement the recommendations of the Kofi Annan-led commission,” he added.
The diplomat said confusion was created over his country's stance on the Rohingya issue, but the confusion ended with the October 22-23 Dhaka visit of Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj as she said “normalcy would be restored only with the return of the displaced people to Rakhine”.
Sushma during her meetings with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali, Leader of the Opposition Raushan Ershad and BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia made it clear that people displaced from Rakhine should return to their homeland and should be repatriated.
In India's view, the only long-term solution to the Rakhine crisis was a rapid socio-economic and infrastructure development that would have a positive impact on all the communities in that state, said the diplomat.
Another top Indian diplomat in Dhaka said his country wanted to focus on some “immediate issues” keeping in mind the consequences of a delayed repatriation of Rohingyas. “We have no plan B or C and we want an early solution to the crisis. India wants to see a solution before it becomes a challenge.”
He said there was no difference between Bangladesh and India in regards to using the term “forcibly displaced nationals from Myanmar”.
Asked about Sushma's visit, another influential Indian diplomat said the external affairs minister made it clear that her country would like to see free, fair and participatory elections in Bangladesh.
“India wants to see free, fair and participatory elections and democratic process working here,” he said, adding that it was not for India to say about the election process, and the people of Bangladesh would determine it.
About Sushma's meeting with Khaleda, the diplomat said the BNP leader was convinced about India's stance on the Rohingya crisis.
“We explained our system that is the party in power continues to run the government during the polls time. This system is followed in all democracies and majority of the countries in the world.”
India doesn't want to back something that contradicts with the established democratic system, he added.