South Asians for Human Rights

Promoting Democracy, Upholding Human Rights

In the wake of the massive outflow of Rohingya refugees sparked by violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, India and Myanmar on Wednesday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the development of the state.

Foreign secretary S Jaishankar signed the MoU on India’s behalf in the presence Myanmar’s social welfare minister Win Myat Aye, Indian ambassador to Myanmar Vikram Misri tweeted.

According to Misri, the MoU is a government-to-government (G2G) agreement on long-term socio-economic development of Rakhine.

Following the signing of the MoU, Jaishankar called on Myanmar state counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi in Nay Pyi Taw.

Misri said that during the meeting, the discussions focused on delivering on commitments made during the bilateral summit between Suu Kyi and visiting Indian prime minister Narendra Modi in September. The commitments included a development package for Rakhine and extending the bilateral agenda.

Jaishankar’s visit is of strategic importance after more than 650,000 Rohingyas fled to neighbouring Bangladesh since violence erupted in Rakhine late August.

The minority Rohingya community does not enjoy citizenship in Myanmar and is sparingly given refugee status in Bangladesh.

Human rights monitors have accused Myanmar’s military of atrocities against the minority population during its clearance operations following Rohingya militants’ 25 August attacks on multiple government posts.

Earlier this month, global humanitarian NGO Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) said that at least 6,700 Rohingyas were killed in the violence.

India has maintained that the issue should be handled in a humane manner, development activities should be initiated in Rakhine and conditions should be created for the safe and secure return of the refugees to their homes.

New Delhi has also sent relief material for the refugees in both Rakhine and Bangladesh.

Earlier on Wednesday, Jaishankar also held a meeting with commander-in-chief of the Myanmar Security Forces Min Aung Hlaing.

Updated On: Dec 20, 2017