Indian PM says shares Myanmar's concerns over Rakhine violence

Posted September 06, 2017

Modi spoke after talks with Myanmar's de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi during a visit aimed at expanding commercial ties as part of an "Act East" policy, and pushing back against Chinese influence.

But she criticised the "huge iceberg of misinformation" about the conflict promoting the interests of terrorists.

Asked whether he was disappointed in Suu Kyi, the secretary-general said: "It's not a matter of being disappointed".

Myanmar is facing intense scrutiny over latest round of violence against roughly 1.1 million Rohingya Muslims. The violence and civilian suffering have prompted global condemnation and resonated particularly in many Muslim countries. "The continued stigmatization faced by Muslims, aided by the state in Burma, greatly increases the potential for group violence to recommence in the future".

The latest government statement, carried by local media, said Ms Suu Kyi told Mr Erdogan that her government had "already started defending all the people in Rakhine in the best way possible".

According to a readout of the call, Aung San Suu Kyi said: "We know very well, more than most, what it means to be deprived of human rights and democratic protection".

"So we make sure that all the people in our country are entitled to protection of their rights as well as, the right to, and not just political but social and humanitarian defence".

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A failure by the civilian government of Aung San Suu Kyi to come to grips with economic inequality and provide adequate public services such as education, access to justice and disaster relief allows Ma Ba Tha to gain legitimacy, the report said.

However, accusations continue to be levelled at Myanmar's authorities.

The Rohingya Muslim ethnic minority in Rakhine has faced systematic persecution for decades at the hands of Myanmar's Buddhist majority, who consider a lot of them to be illegal immigrants from neighboring Bangladesh.

Two-way trade has grown to about $2.2 billion as India courts Myanmar following the gradual end of military rule, but Indian-funded projects have moved slowly. Myanmar's government has yet to respond as to whether or not fresh mines have been laid in recent weeks, Reuters said. Suu Kyi, who established the commission, has largely looked the other way regarding the plight of the Rohingyas.

According to the latest United Nations figures, some 125,00 Rohingya Muslims have fled to Bangladesh from Myanmar's northwestern Rakhine state since the violence began on August 25.

Many of those who have left describe troops and Rakhine Buddhist mobs razing their villages and killing civilians in a campaign to drive them out. He said no force would be used to deport Rohingyas.

■ The prime minister's visit to Myanmar comes amid a spike in ethnic violence against Rohingya Muslims in the Rakhine state.