Rohingya influx: Delhi pledges full support for Dhaka

Foreign secy meets Indian counterpart

India yesterday pledged its full support to Bangladesh to effectively cope with different dimensions of the crisis emanating from the huge influx of Rohingya refugees from Myanmar. 

The assurance came during a meeting between visiting Bangladesh Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque and his Indian counterpart S Jaishankar at the latter's South Block office here.

The meeting lasted for about half an hour.

Shahidul, who arrived in New Delhi on Wednesday night on a two-day visit, will address a press conference at the Bangladesh High Commission here at 10:00am today before returning home.

Earlier in the afternoon, Shahidul met India's National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, a close aide of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Diplomatic sources said the two foreign secretaries discussed mainly two key aspects associated with the Rohingya issue -- humanitarian assistance and diplomatic initiatives to solve the crisis.

India urged Bangladesh to take extra care to plug all routes along the border to ensure Rohingyas do not find their way to India. India conveyed that it has stepped up vigil at the around 4,000-km border with Bangladesh to check influx of Rohingyas, particularly along West Bengal's border with that country. The issue was discussed at the BSF-BGB biannual meeting here where both sides agreed to share information and enhance coordination on it.

The two foreign secretaries agreed that Myanmar appeared to show signs of yielding to mounting international pressure and indicating its readiness to take back Rohingya refugees. But both stressed that fingers should be kept crossed unless meaningful and verifiable actions are taken on repatriation of refugees.

 India too would like to send back an estimated 40,000 Rohingya refugees. The two secretaries agreed on the need for continuing their respective diplomatic initiatives so that Myanmar takes back the refugees.

The two top diplomats recognised that given the complexity of the Rohingya issue, there was a need for Dhaka and Delhi to have some kind of coordination to deal with it and assist efforts for a permanent solution, said the sources.

The meeting also discussed possible dates for the visit of Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to Dhaka for a meeting of the Joint Consultative Commission. The tentative dates for the meeting are October 22-23.


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