Home India Bangladesh Foreign Minister holds talks in Delhi on volatile Myanmar situation

Bangladesh Foreign Minister holds talks in Delhi on volatile Myanmar situation

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Bangladesh Foreign Minister holds talks in Delhi on volatile Myanmar situation

NEW DELHI: Fighting between ethnic groups and the military junta in Myanmar has led to an influx of refugees and soldiers in the bordering states of India and Bangladesh — a cause of concern for both countries. The issue was discussed when Bangladesh’s Foreign Minister Hasan Mahmud met National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval in Delhi on Wednesday.

It may be recalled that Doval was in Dhaka over the weekend and speculation had been rife that the reason for his sudden visit was the situation in Myanmar. Reports suggest that both India and Bangladesh are weighing all options to keep the infiltration from Myanmar at bay.

“There is a possibility of Rohingyas having access to the arms left behind by fleeing junta troops in Myanmar and that is a cause of concern. In the coming days, there is an apprehension of Rohingyas using these weapons to escalate the ongoing turmoil in Myanmar,” said a source.

Rakhine state has been nearly taken over by the Arakan Army as a result of which a lot of junta soldiers crossed over to India and Bangladesh. The Indian government has issued an advisory for people to return from Rakhine state, which also happens to be the place where Sittwe port is located. The port was developed by India under the Kaladan Multi Modal Transit Project.

Meanwhile, Mahmud said that the Rohingya issue also came up for discussion with Doval in Delhi.

“We have over 1.4 million Rohingyas in Bangladesh and nearly 35000 babies were born to them last year. The density of population in Bangladesh is high and we cannot afford to have more refugees,” Mahmud said.

He also held a bilateral meeting with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar.

The meeting touched upon cross border connectivity, economic and development partnership, cooperation in defence and security, power, energy, water resources and people to people exchanges.

Mahmud is on his first official visit to India, at the invitation of Jaishankar, after he was appointed Foreign Minister in the newly elected government in Bangladesh.

“India is our immediate neighbour so it made sense to make my first trip here after being appointed as the foreign minister,” added Mahmud, who is expected to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday. He will also go to Kolkata before returning to Dhaka.