India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi Wednesday expressed concern over “extremist violence” in Myanmar’s Rakhine and “violence against security forces” but maintained silence on the persecution of Rohingya Muslims.
At least five children drowned when boats carrying Rohingya refugees fleeing violence in Myanmar sank early on Wednesday, news agency AFP reported.
Modi, who said he had a “wonderful meeting” with Myanmar President Htin Kyaw on Tuesday, praised Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi’s “leadership” amid mounting criticism of a state-sponsored persecution of the minority Muslim community, forcing an estimated 1.25 lakh people to flee to Bangladesh and India.
“We share your concerns about extremist violence in Rakhine state and violence against security forces and how innocent lives have been affected,” Modi said in a joint statement with Suu Kyi at Myanmar’s capital Nay Pyi Taw on Wednessday.
“We hope that all stakeholders together can find a way out in which unity and territorial integrity of Myanmar is respected,” he said, adding “peace, justice, dignity and democratic values for all” can be achieved.
Suu Kyi, the de-facto leader of Buddhist-majority Myanmar, thanked India for taking a strong stand on the “terror threat” faced by her country.
She said India and Myanmar jointly can ensure that terrorism is not allowed to take root on their soil or on the soil of neighbouring countries.
Over 1 lakh Rohingyas have fled the latest bout of state-sponsored violence in Myanmar .
Authorities said three to four boats had sunk at the mouth of the Naf river, which divides Bangladesh and Myanmar’s violence-wracked Rakhine state, raising fears there could be many more casualties.
Scores of people have already been killed attempting to cross the Naf border river since a fresh upsurge in violence in Rakhine on August 25, many using small fishing boats unsuited to the rough coastal waters.
Border Guard Bangladesh officer Aloysius Sangma said three to four boats packed with Rohingya refugees had gone down early Wednesday.