17:24 GMT01 March 2021
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    India has been cautious in its approach on the Rohingya issue and has been acting in a manner that does not offend Myanmar as well as Bangladesh which is bearing the burden of more than six hundred thousand Rohingya Muslims who have taken shelter in its territory after fleeing Myanmar’s Arakan region.

    New Delhi (Sputnik) — India has announced a development assistance of $25 million for Myanmar's Rakhine State. The announcement comes after India's foreign secretary S Jaishankar visited the country earlier this week during which he signed a MoU pledging Indian assistance for building homes for the Rohingya Muslim refugees returning back to Myanmar from Bangladesh.

    "The amount of commitment to the development efforts is $25 million over five years which is an indicative figure and depends on the actual requirement and utilization," External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said in a statement.

    Myanmar and Bangladesh signed a bilateral agreement on repatriation of Rohingya refugees on November 23 and a joint working group was established on Tuesday this week for its implementation.

    Experts view this as a fine balancing act by India to keep up with its relations with Bangladesh and Myanmar.

    "India has to do a fine balancing act here. India has to balance between Bangladesh and Myanmar. In such a scenario, India hence tries to stay away from political issues and focus more on the humanitarian side of the problem," former Diplomat and senior analyst on foreign relations Kanwal Sibal told Sputnik.

    Even the official communication released by the government of India after the signing of the MoU mentioned Rohingya crisis as "matters pertaining to Rakhine State".

     "The aim of the pact would be to help the Government of Myanmar achieve its objective of restoration of normalcy in Rakhine State and enable the return of displaced persons," The Ministry of External Affairs of India said in a press release.

    Shelter building for the refugees returning back to Myanmar is the second major social project to be undertaken by India in the disturbed Rakhine state. After a bout of riots in the year 2012, India had announced $1 million in aid for reconstruction of schools in the area.

    MEA release also informed that S Jaishankar also called on the State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and commander-in-chief of the Myanmar Defence Services, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing.

    The top Indian diplomat's visit comes after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Myanmar visit in September during which India faced protests in Dhaka for not criticizing Myanmar for the Rohingya crisis. Modi had only blamed "extremist violence" for the loss of lives in Rakhine. The public rage against India in Bangladesh was partly combated with relief assistance to Bangladesh from India for the Rohingya refugees living in makeshift camps.

    Subsequently, India abstained on a resolution in the United Nations Human Rights Council backed by Bangladesh which condemned the human rights violations against the Rohingya community. China stood by Myanmar and the resolution was approved by 33 UNHRC members.


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