Myanmar meet didn’t discuss Rohingya issue

‘Illegal migrants can be deported’

India did not discuss the deportation of Rohingya with Myanmar at a meeting held last month.

The annual 22nd National Level Meeting between India and Myanmar was held on October 25-26. An official of the Ministry of External Affairs present at the meeting confirmed that the issue was not on the agenda.

Rajnath’s assertion

On multiple occasions, Home Minister Rajnath Singh has raised the illegal migration of Rohingya at public rallies and events, stating they would use diplomatic channels and ask the Myanmar government to take them back.

Though the exact number of Rohingya living in India is not known, as per the Centre’s estimate, there are around 40,000 of them in India, of which around 5,700 are in Jammu.

Only 16,000 of them are said to be registered with the United Nations.

The Rohingya came in during 2012-13 when thousands were displaced following a wave of violence in the Rakhine state of Myanmar. The attacks revived in 2017 when lakhs took shelter in Cox’s Bazar area of Bangladesh. “The Rohingya issue was not discussed as a mechanism exists to deport illegal migrants. Recently, seven Rohingya, who were caught in Assam in 2012, were sent to Myanmar after the latter verified their credentials,” the official said.

The Indian delegation was led by Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba. The Myanmar delegation, led by Major General Aung Thu, Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, Myanmar, agreed to take action against insurgent groups in their territories.

At the meeting, India is learnt to have given the precise location of insurgent camps to the Myanmar officials.

A statement issued by the Home Ministry after the meeting said: “The two countries agreed on providing security cooperation along the international border and facilitating movement of people and trade across the border.” It also said that both sides agreed to cooperate in preventing smuggling of wildlife and narcotic drugs and strengthening cooperation on international border management, including construction of subsidiary pillars to better demarcate the border.

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