Rohingya crisis can become security concern for India’s northeast: Bangladesh envoy

New Drelhi: The mass exodus of Rohingya refugees from Myanmar has to be tackled urgently as it has the potential of becoming a “huge security concern” for the entire region, including India’s insurgency-affected northeastern states, the Bangladeshi envoy said on September 14.
Bangladesh is looking to India, as a regional power, to play a larger role in persuading Myanmar to both halt the exodus of Rohingyas from Rakhine state and to ensure the repatriation of those who have fled to other countries, high commissioner Syed Muazzem Ali said.
Some 400,000 Rohingyas had taken refuge in Bangladesh over the past two decades and their number has almost doubled since the Myanmar Army launched a crackdown in Rakhine following militant attacks on police posts and an army base on August 25. Bangladesh believes India can play a key role in defusing the crisis as Myanmar has not responded to any of its proposals to tackle the issue.
“I am more concerned about my own region but the presence of Rohingya refugees elsewhere could be a security risk for everybody else. It could be used even in your northeast India,” Ali, a former foreign secretary, said.
The envoy evaded a direct response to a question on reports that groups such as the Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh and Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba had established links with the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army, but said the Rohingya refugees could “fall victim to the various organizations who are trying to destabilise the region”.
“I’m sure you’re well aware of those destabilising factors (which) we have been working overtime (to counter) during the past four decades, even in the context of northeast India,” he said.
Referring to the attacks in Rakhine on August 25, Ali said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was had shown “zero tolerance” for terrorism and Bangladesh had also offered to conduct joint patrols on the border with Myanmar “so that these terrorists cannot escape”.
He noted there were also media reports that Indian and Bangladeshi security agencies had alerted Myanmar about possible attacks after it “intercepted certain suspicious telephone calls and movements” of terrorists.
Though Myanmar does not recognize the Rohingya as its citizens, Ali said New Delhi can play a role in persuading Naypyidaw to take back the refugees.
“Myanmar, Bangladesh and India are all BIMSTEC members, and India as a regional power should exercise its good offices to persuade Myanmar for the return of these Rohingya refugees,” he said.

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