India, Bangladesh support Burmese military repression of Rohingya
9 September 2017
During a visit to Burma (Myanmar) this week, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi explicitly endorsed the ongoing military repression of Rohingya Muslims in Burma’s northwestern Rakhine state. His government and Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina are both moving to forcibly deport thousands of poverty-stricken Rohingya refugees.
Since August 25, the Myanmar military (Tatmadaw) has stepped up its violent attacks on Rohingya in Rakhine state where most of the Muslim minority live. Rohingya have been tortured, women raped, houses torched and villages destroyed in “ethnic cleansing” operations throughout the state.
According to UNICEF, over 400 Rohingya have been killed and 164,000 have been forced to flee—80 percent are women and children. Tens of thousands are seeking refuge in neighbouring India and Bangladesh. The Burmese government claims the military operations are in response terrorist attacks by insurgency groups linked with the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army which purportedly killed 12 security officers.
During his visit, Modi fully backed the military repression declared, “We share your [the Burmese government’s] concerns about the extremist violence in Rakhine state and especially the violence against the security forces and how innocent lives have been affected and killed.”
Modi praised Myanmar Foreign Minister Aung San Suu Kyi for her “courageous leadership” and issued a joint statement in which he promised to work with her to solve the “terrorist problem.” In return, she thanked “India for its strong stance with regard to the terrorist threat” and claimed her government was “defending all the people” in Rakhine state.