Indian Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar on Thursday said a practical approach was needed to tackle the Rohingya refugee crisis arising out of Myanmar’s Rakhine state, rather than strong condemnation.
“The fact that here is an exodus of a large number of people from Rakhine state is clearly a matter of concern,” Jaishankar said in response to a question at a seminar on “Connecting the Bay of Bengal: India, Japan and Regional Cooperation” organised by the Carnegie India think tank in association with the India Development Foundation.
“Our objective would be to see how they can go back to their place of origin,” he said, adding, however, that this was not easy.
He said that India has been “talking to Bangladesh and we have separately engaged with Myanmar”.
“There have been high-level conversations with both countries. We feel that this is a situation which is better addressed through practical measures and constructive conversations rather than doing strong condemnations and then having checked the condemnation box and move on to the next issue.”
The Foreign Secretary’s remarks come even as the UN put the total number of Rohingya refugees that have arrived in Bangladesh from Myanmar since August 25 at 604,000.
Jaishankar said that such a situation needed “a much more sober, realistic, locally sensitive approach than we have seen in some quarters”.
New Delhi voiced “deep concern” over the Rohingya refugee issue and asked Myanmar to handle the situation in the Rakhine state with “maturity and restraint”, in the statement.
India has also come to Bangladesh’s aid in handling the crisis by sending relief material for the current influx of Rohingya refugees under Operation Insaniyat.