External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj today paid a courtesy call on Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina but the ongoing Rohingya crisis did not come up for discussion during their brief meeting. “The meeting with the prime minister of Bangladesh was more in the nature of a courtesy meeting. It was a very short meeting. The issue of Rohingya did not come up during the meeting for discussion,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar told reporters at a news conference here.
Kumar said that the discussion between Swaraj and Hasina was “purely bilateral”. “Warm encounter reflecting our historical and cultural ties. Courtesy call on Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina by EAM (External Affairs Minister),” he said in a tweet after the meeting. Bangladesh, which is facing a big influx of Rohingyas from Myanmar, has called on the international community to intervene and put pressure on Myanmar to address the exodus. According to the UN estimates, over 410,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled Myanmar’s Rakhine state into Bangladesh since August 25 when fresh wave of violence erupted.
According to reports, the violence began when Rohingya militants attacked police posts in Myanmar’s Rakhine state. Many of those crossing the border bring harrowing tales of rape, murder and arson at the hands of Myanmar’s security forces and Buddhist mobs. Earlier, Swaraj met Bhutanese Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay but the Doklam issue did not figure in the meeting. The ministry spokesperson said that since the Doklam issue was already settled, there was “no question of it coming up in discussions”.
Responding to a question Kumar said, “There are a lot of projects, which are going on in India and the two sides discussed how to take this cooperation forward.” “Strengthening traditionally unique bilateral relations. EAM @SushmaSwaraj meets with Bhutanese PM @tsheringtobgay in New York,” Kumar said in another tweet after Swaraj’s meeting with the Bhutanese prime minister. The Bhutanese prime minister said they discussed a wide range of bilateral issues.
“Such a pleasure meeting H.E @SushmaSwaraj ji, External Affairs Minister of India. We discussed the wide range of bilateral cooperation,” Tobgay tweeted. India and China last month ended a 73-day standoff in Doklam area of the Sikkim sector that was triggered by China’s move to build a road in the border area. Bhutan had welcomed the end of the standoff and hoped it would help maintain peace and status quo at the tri-junction.