India’s coast guard found the 81 survivors and eight dead crammed onto a crippled fishing boat and were trying to arrange for Bangladesh to take them, Indian officials said on Friday.
But Momen told Reuters late on Friday that Bangladesh expects India, the closest country, or Myanmar, the Rohingyas’ country of origin, to accept them.
“They are not Bangladesh nationals and in fact, they are Myanmar nationals. They were found 1 700 km (1 100 miles) away from the Bangladesh maritime territory and therefore, we have no obligation to take them,” said Momen, who is in the United States.
“They were located 147 km (91 miles) away from Indian territory, 324 km (201 miles) away from Myanmar,” he said by phone, adding other countries and organisations should take care of the refugees.
Indian foreign ministry officials did not respond to requests for comment.
External Affairs Ministry spokesman Anurag Srivastava said on Thursday that India was “in discussions with the Government of Bangladesh to ensure their safe and secure repatriation.”
India’s foreign ministry did not respond to requests for comment on whether it would accept the refugees onto Indian soil.