Rohinyas are persecuted at home in Myanmar. Do you think that stability in Rakhine state(in Myanmar) is good for India? How can India persuade Myanmar to diplomatically resolve the Rohingya crisis?

Rohingyas are muslims belonging to the Rakhine state in North-western Myanmar. They are not considered citizens according to Myanmar’s Citizenship Act, and are persecuted by the Buddhist majority, leading to several conflicts between the two groups over the decades.

Yes, stability in Rakhine state is good for India, because:
1. It will lead to speedy development and execution of Kaladan multi-modal transport project, which has Sittwe port (Rakhine’s capital) as an important nodal point. Kaladan project is very important as an alternate connecting route to North East India.
2. It will lead to better cooperation with Myanmar government with regards to tackling the insurgency in India’s North Eastern states. Most of the insurgents are Burmese nationals or have taken shelter on Myanmar’s soil.
3. Overall stability of Rakhine state is essential for development of the entire region, with initiatives such as BCIM corridor, India-Myanmar-Thailand trilateral highway from Moreh (India) to Mae Sot (Thailand). This will lead to increased prosperity and deepening trade relations.
4. Instability increases illegal migration into neighbouring countries Bangladesh and India, overburdening the State and creating tensions in the indigenous communities.
5. Instability proves to be a hotbed for radicalization and for spreading terrorism. Groups such as IS and Al Qaeda in Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) already have eyes on the region.
6. Stability would lead to better border protection, in order to prevent drug trafficking via Golden Triangle, and human trafficking.

India, being a responsible neighbour, and an aspiring global power, has a duty to help resolve this crisis peacefully. It can persuade Myanmar diplomatically in the following ways:
1. By appointing a special ambassador for the crisis, who will engage discreetly with the Myanmar government and help resolve the crisis.
2. By raising the issue on local forums such as ASEAN and BIMSTEC, and appealing to Myanmar to resolve the crisis on ethical grounds.
3. By using its immense soft power to convene a Buddhist conference under the leadership of Dalai Lama, and persuading the Buddhist majority to peacefully resolve the crisis.
4. By drawing attention of the West to this situation, and raising the issue to an importance similar to the Syrian refugee crisis, to garner world’s attention, and quicker resolution.
5. By participating effectively in the Advisory Commission on the Settlement of the Problem in Rakhine State (ACSPRS) set up by Kofi Annan.

Myanmar is important to India economically as well as strategically. Stability, as well as curbing Beijing’s influence in the nascent democracy, is imperative for India’s own objectives of Act East policy and development of the neglected North Eastern region. India must therefore strive to bring peace to the region by all means possible.

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