‘If Bangladesh expects India to criticise Myanmar, then they are wrong’

According to the United Nations, at least 409,000 Rohingya refugees have entered Bangladesh fleeing the unrest in Myanmar

Former Indian foreign secretary Kanwal Sibal has said India should support Myanmar to fight the Rohingya crisis instead of supporting Bangladesh.

“Bangladesh will make a mistake if they expect anything from India regarding this [Rohingya issue],” he made the statement in an interview with the Bangla Tribune.

“Dhaka has to understand that Delhi cannot do a lot of things,” said the former foreign secretary who also served as the Indian high commissioner tobRussia, France, Egypt and Turkey.

In an article published in The Economic Times, he said: “We should not fritter away our strategic stakes in Myanmar by joining a selective, hypocritical chorus on humanitarian issues by those who prefer to agitate only such as are low-cost for them.

“The Islamic countries who condemn Myanmar should explain why Saudi Arabia’s onslaught on the Yemenis or that of Turkey on the Kurds is overlooked by them. Why is there silence on China’s treatment of Tibetans and the Uighur Muslims? The OIC [Organisation of Islamic Cooperation] liberally condemns India on Kashmir but is inaudible over Pakistan’s promotion of terrorism in India and Afghanistan.”

He added: “The ease with which the perceived maltreatment of Muslims anywhere mobilises the community in distant geographies, even violently, explains why pan-Islamism makes the full integration of Muslim minorities in non-Muslim countries difficult.”

Regarding Bangladesh’s assistance in helping India fight militancy in northeast, Kanwal said: “Those who are accusing India of not returning the help are wrong. Bangladesh has to understand that India has done the best it could do in this situation [Rohingya crisis].

“If they [Bangladesh] expect India to criticise Myanmar then they are wrong.”

He said: “Bangladesh still purchases most of its defence hardware and armaments from China. Bangladesh also supports China’s “One Belt One Road” strategy which Indian strongly opposes.”

He added: “They [Bangladesh] back the move saying that their diplomatic relations with India and China are different and they are not linked to each other, but if that is the case, then India’s policy towards Myanmar and Bangladesh should be different.”

He said India has been delaying the matter of sending back the 20,000,000 plus Bangladeshis who had illegally entered the country.

Stating that 40,000 Rohingya have entered India through Bangladesh border, Kanwal also stressed on the importance of sealing off the borders of both the counties to control influx.

The diplomat said: “Astonishingly, the Rohingya by the thousands have settled down in Jammu and Kashmir where the Muslims fiercely oppose the settlement of Hindu refugees as a conspiracy to bring about demographic change.”

When asked about his hard stance on Bangladesh, he told the Bangla Tribune: “We sympathise with Bangladesh but if they think that for them the Indian government will let go of all the strategy it has with regards to Myanmar, and only criticise them, then that will not be right. Will it?”

The former foreign secretary ended the interview saying: “We cannot just forget that the influx started after the militant attack on the Myanmar military and police on August 24.”

According to the United Nations, the total number of Rohingya refugees to have entered Bangladesh, having fled the unrest in Myanmar since August 25, had now reached 409,000.

On September 8, India refused to sign a global declaration adopted at an international conclave, as it referred to the violence against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar’s Rakhine state.

Source: Dhaka Tribune

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