Home Asia India, Myanmar Ink Pact to Restore Normalcy in Rakhine State

India, Myanmar Ink Pact to Restore Normalcy in Rakhine State

Rakhine
India is doing a balancing act in Myanmar and in November it abstained from voting on a UN Committee’s resolution on the human rights situation in Myanmar in regard to the Rohingya Muslim minority.
Rakhine
India is doing a balancing act in Myanmar and in November it abstained from voting on a UN Committee’s resolution on the human rights situation in Myanmar in regard to the Rohingya Muslim minority.

New Delhi: India has agreed to spend $25 million over the next five years to develop the troubled Rakhine province in Myanmar, which has witnessed the mass migration of over half a million Rohingyas forced to flee to the neighboring countries.

The decision, made during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Myanmar in November was formalized in an agreement on day between foreign secretary S. Jaishankar and Myanmar’s social development minister U Soe Aung. Jaishankar met both Aung San Suu Kyi and the army chief, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, acknowledging the importance of the army in the Myanmar government.

This MoU is the first Government to Government agreement signed by the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement of Myanmar with a cooperation partner focused on socio-economic development and livelihood initiatives in Rakhine State. This is intended to help the Government of Myanmar achieve its objective of restoration of normalcy in Rakhine State and enable the return of displaced persons. Under this MoU, Government of India proposes to take up, among others, a project to build prefabricated housing in Rakhine State so as to meet the immediate needs of returning people.

In addition to the Rakhine State project proposals, a number of ongoing friendship projects were reviewed. Issues regarding the operation and maintenance of Sittwe port and the road from Paletwa- Zorinpui were reviewed. Other key projects such as the Rhi- Tiddim road project, the Trilateral Highway road from Kalewa to Yargyi, the project to build 69 bridges on the Tamu-Kyigone-Kalewa road, the Yamethin Police Training Centre and hospital projects, etc., were also discussed.

Foreign Secretary earlier also called on Commander in Chief of the Myanmar Defence Services, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing. All matters relating to security, bilateral cooperation as well as the situation in Northern Rakhine State were discussed.

U.N. officials have described Myanmar’s strategy as “ethnic cleansing.” U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has said that the United States held Myanmar’s military leadership responsible for its harsh crackdown.

Because of the Rohingya crisis, the west is distancing itself from Myanmar while China is taking full advantage of this move. Beijing is solidly backing the government of Myanmar and is blocking resolutions in the UNSC.

India is doing a balancing act in Myanmar and in November it abstained from voting on a UN Committee’s resolution on the human rights situation in Myanmar in regard to the Rohingya Muslim minority. Among the 26 countries which abstained along with India, were Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan and Japan.

China and the Russian Federation were among ten countries which voted against the resolution. China and the Russia are wary against any form of UN international intervention directed by the West in the internal affairs of Myanmar and other developing countries as they see it as an instrument to intervene in other countries which do not fall in line with its policies.

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