India’s foreign minister has arrived in Bangladesh ahead of a visit by Prime Minister Narendra Modi amid efforts to resolve the fate of 81 Rohingya refugees who are on a boat adrift in international waters.Indian Minister of Foreign Affairs Subrahmanyam Jaishankar will hold talks with his Bangladeshi counterpart on water sharing, trade and border issues, two Indian of
“Of course, the Rohingya refugee issue will come up during the Indian minister’s day-long visit but the prime agenda will remain around Modi’s upcoming visit,” a senior foreign ministry official said, speaking on condition of anonymity as he was not authorised to speak to the media.
Last month, the Indian coastguard rescued 81 Rohingya, a minority who fled mostly to Bangladesh to escape violence in Buddhist-majority Myanmar, whose boat had been drifting in the Andaman Sea for over two weeks after they left Bangladesh.Eight people on the boat had already died of dehydration.The fate of the refugees remains unclear as India, so far, has not allowed their entry into its territory and wants Bangladesh to take them back.
ficials in New Delhi said on Thursday.But Bangladesh’s Minister of Foreign Affairs AK Abdul Momen last week told Reuters news agency his government expects India, the closest country, or Myanmar, the Rohingyas’ country of origin, to accept the 81 survivors.
Aid agencies are demanding that governments stop passing the buck and pluck the 81 survivors immediately from the Andaman sea.
India has in recent weeks provided two million doses of COVID-19 vaccines shots to Bangladesh and could use that goodwill to press Dhaka to accept the refugees.
Modi will be visiting Dhaka as part of the celebrations of the 50th anniversary of Bangladesh’s independence later this month.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh on Wednesday began moving nearly 4,000 more Rohingya refugees to a remote Bay of Bengal island, officials said, despite complaints from rights groups concerned about the site’s vulnerability to storms and flooding.