Desk Report: Visiting Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Sunday said Myanmar must take back their nationals and it must not punish innocent people in clamping down terrorism as she called on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
“Myanmar may punish the terrors, not innocent people,” premier’s press secretary Ihsanul Karim quoted her as saying at a news briefing after her courtesy call on at the Prime Minister’s Gonobhaban residence here this evening.
Swaraj, he said, appreciated Bangladesh stance on the Rohingya issue but described the exodus of huge forcibly displaced people as a “big burden for Bangladesh”.
“It’s a big burden for Bangladesh, and how long Bangladesh will bear this?,” the Indian minister said referring to the exodus of the forcibly displaced people who fled their homeland to take shelter in the neighbouring country to evade atrocities.
Swaraj added there should be a permanent solution of the Rohingya issues and international community should contribute to social and economic development of Rakhain.
She also said Indian’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi advised Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi not to destroy her image in the international arena. Swaraj arrived in Dhaka today on a two day visit to join meeting of the Joint Consultative Commission (JCC) of the two countries.
Karim said the Indian minister praised Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for extending all humanitarian support to the Rohingya people.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina narrated the situation after the beginning of the Rohinhgya exodus since August 25 and her government’s initiatives for their shelter.
“We are feeding 160 million people. So have given them shelter upon the confidence that we would be able to feed the distressed Rohingyas on humanitarian ground,” Sheikh Hasina told Swaraj.
The premier, however, said Bangladesh already established an engagement with Myanmar and Bangladesh Home MinIster was set to visit the neighbouring county over the crisis.
She recalled Indian contribution to Bangladesh’s 1971 Liberation War as well as support to her and her sister Sheikh Rehana after the 1975 assassination of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman along with most of his family members.
Swaraj informed the Prime Minister about official talks with her Bangladesh counterpart saying the entire gamut of bilateral relations came up in their discussion and she was very satisfied at the state of bilateral relation.
The Indian minister said she had a very fruitful discussing with Bangladesh officials on the projects under Indian Line of Credit (LOC) which implementation are being delayed.
Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali, PM’s advisor on International Affairs Dr Gowher Rizvi, Bangladesh High Commissioner to India Syed Moazzem Ali, Principal Secretary Dr Kamal Abdul Naser Chowdhury and Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque were present along with Indian Foreign Secretary Dr Joy Shankar and Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Harsh Vardhan Shringla.
At the onset of the meeting Swaraj handed over some memorabilia of 1971 Liberation War to the Prime Minister as gift to the Bangladesh National Museum.
The memorabilia includes a Mi-4 helocopter, a PT76 tank, 106 mm recoilless anti tank gun and some of the military equipment that was utilized by the joint forces during the Liberation War.
A large number of artifacts and documents of the independence struggle including historical photographs, archival audio and video clippings, maps, battle records, newspaper clippings, documentary films etc are also included in the gifts.