India sees Rohingya crisis as ‘security concern’

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Dhaka, Apr 8: India is keen to see an early solution to the Rohingya crisis as it thinks the issue might emerge as a “serious security concern” for them having borders with both Bangladesh and Myanmar.

India also wants to see Myanmar to take steps as per the repatriation agreement signed with Bangladesh to resolve the crisis.

The issue came up for discussion at a closed-door meeting between a select group of people representing media and civil society and visiting Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Keshav Gokhale at a city hotel on Sunday evening.

Responding to a query about the upcoming national election in Bangladesh, the Indian Foreign Secretary did not make any comment, saying it is Bangladesh’s internal issue, a meeting source told UNB.

Meeting sources said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi will hold a meeting on the sidelines of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2018 (CHOGM) that will be held in London and Windsor on April 16-20.

“The issue came up during the discussion and the meeting will be held,” said another participant.

The source said there was no visible progress on the Teesta water-sharing deal between the two countries but India laid emphasis on increasing engagement with the West Bengal government.

The meeting described as an “informal discussion” began at Sonargaon Hotel around 6:45pm and lasted for around two hours.

The Indian Foreign Secretary accompanied by Indian High Commissioner in Dhaka Harsh Vardhan Shringla entered the meeting venue at 6:40pm.

UGC Chairman Prof Abdul Mannan, former Bangladesh Bank governor Dr Atiur Rahman, former Ambassador Muhammad Zamir, Mahjabeen Khaled, MP, Advocate Rana Das Gupta, former Foreign Secretary Shamsher Mobin Chowdhury, Bhorer Kagoj Editor Shyamal Dutta and Ekattor TV Chief Editor Mozammel Babu were, among others, present.

The discussants laid emphasis on broadening the trade and investment ties between Bangladesh and India.

China’s engagement in Bangladesh also came up for discussion briefly, meeting sources said.

“In most cases, he (Indian FS) listened to us to have a better understanding about Bangladesh,” one of the participants told UNB.

Vijay Keshav Gokhale arrived here on Sunday afternoon on a two-day visit to attend a bilateral meeting with his Bangladesh counterpart M Shahidul Haque that will be held on Monday.

Source: UNB