New Delhi/Dhaka, March 2 (IANS) India on Monday reassured Bangladesh that the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam will have no implications on its people and the government.
During his visit to Dhaka on Monday, Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said that the process of updating the NRC in Assam, which has “taken place entirely at the direction and under the supervision of the Supreme Court of India”, was completely “internal to India” and will have “no implications for the government and people of Bangladesh”.
The Indian leadership, he said, has repeatedly confirmed this at the highest level to the Bangladesh government. “You have our assurance on that count,” Shringla added.
In his address at the Bangladesh Institute for International Studies (BIISS), Shringla said the two countries were the “closest of neighbours” with a shared history, culture and sacrifice “just as much as we are joined by shared waters, the same cherished soil and by our fraternal ties”.
Addressing the issue of the Rohingya refugees from Myanmar’s Rakhine state, the Foreign Secretary said that India was deeply appreciative of humanism that motivated Bangladesh to offer shelter to nearly one million displaced people at an enormous burden.
Shringla said, as the only neighbour of both Bangladesh and Myanmar, India was committed to offering the fullest support for any mutually-acceptable solution that will enable the earliest possible return of displaced persons to their homes and a dignified life in Rakhine state.
“This should be done in a manner that is safe, secure and sustainable,” he said.
India has provided five tranches of aid to the camps in Cox’s Bazar area through the Bangladesh government, and is prepared to do more.
Simultaneously, India is investing in the socio-economic development of the Rakhine area, including housing, so that there is an incentive not only for people to return, but for all communities to focus on cooperative solutions for economic development, rather than compete for limited resources.
The Foreign Secretary said India is consistent in its interventions with the government of Myanmar at all levels, on the importance of closing Internally Displaced Person (IDP) camps, facilitating socio-economic development projects, and in offering a conducive environment to encourage displaced persons to return to their homes in Myanmar from Bangladesh.
Shringla emphatically claimed that India and Bangladesh were on the same page regarding the way forward on the issue of Rohingya refugee crisis.
Incidentally, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been specially invited to participate in the inaugural ceremony of ‘Mujib Barsho’, the centenary of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the freedom fighter and the first President of Bangladesh, later this month.