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India welcomes Suu Kyi’s statement on Rohingyas

IANS | Yangon |

India on Tuesday welcomed as encouraging and positive Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi’s address on the situation in the country’s Rakhine state where violence has triggered an outflow of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees to neighbouring Bangladesh.

“It was an encouraging address and contained a very positive message,” India’s Ambassador to Myanmar Vikram Misri told the media after Suu Kyi’s state of the union address on the issue.

“I think we all appreciate the problems and complex challenges that Myanmar faces,” he said.

“The situation that has come about in the Rakhine state in recent days is something that has caused a lot of concern to not only people within the country but its neighbours, including us, too.”

Breaking her silence over the ongoing crisis, Suu Kyi on Tuesday said she and her government “condemn all human rights violations and unlawful violence” in the country and does not fear global scrutiny on the situation in Rakhine state.

The de facto leader made the remarks in her first national address over the Rakhine violence. She said she felt “deeply” for the suffering of “all people” in the conflict, and that Myanmar was “committed to a sustainable solution… for all communities in this state”.

The UN office in Bangladesh said on Monday that around 415,000 refugees have entered the country since August 25 after the Myanmarese army launched a crackdown on the minority Rohingya community in view of a series of attacks on security personnel.

The Rohingyas do not enjoy citizenship status in Myanmar and are sparingly given refugee status in Bangladesh.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi shared New Delhi’s concerns over the situation in Rakhine during a meeting with Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi when he visited Nay Pyi Taw earlier this month.

India has also extended humanitarian assistance to Bangladesh to handle the refugee crisis.

Suu Kyi, who decided not to attend the UN General Assembly in New York later this week, said she was “aware of the fact that the world’s attention is focused on the situation in Rakhine” and that Myanmar “does not fear international scrutiny”, CNN reported.

The leader said she nevertheless wanted the international community to know what was being done by her government. “It is not the intention of the Myanmar government to apportion blame or to abdicate responsibility. We condemn all human rights violation and unlawful violence.”

In his remarks to the media, Ambassador Misri said that India has shared its concerns over the issue at various levels.

He said that while India recognsied the right of the authorities to provide security and defend themselves from violent attacks, it was also important to prevent violence against innocent bystanders and civilians.