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India rules out mediation between Myanmar, Bangladesh

Russian government-controlled news agency Sputnik has said the Indian government has denied reports that it is interested in mediating between Myanmar and Bangladesh to resolve the Rohingya crisis.

“India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has said that the government has no plans to act as a mediator between Myanmar and Bangladesh to solve the Rohingya refugee crisis,” said the report published on Friday.

Read more: India asks Myanmar to take action against Rohingyas accused of killing Hindus

“India has categorically said that the government will only provide humanitarian assistance to Bangladesh to deal with the heavy influx of Rohingyas who have been entering the country after fleeing persecution in Myanmar,” added the report.

“We are focusing on the humanitarian assistance under ‘Operation Insaniyat’ and we have sent out three sorties of relief material. Thousands of family packets have been delivered, these items consist of materials to be used by the families who have been displaced and who are in Bangladesh,” MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar was quoted by the Russian news agency.

“The two countries are in close touch, they are coordinating the situation which is developing out of the arrival of the displaced persons in the country. We are committed to assist Bangladesh and are extending our full support in handling this issue,” said the foreign ministry spokesperson.

Earlier, Bangladesh had asked India to use its influence to put pressure on Myanmar to end violence in Rakhine state.

The sudden influx of around half a million Rohingyas in Bangladesh has put enormous strain on the government. Prime minister Sheikh Hasina has appealed to the international community for help.

In another report, the Russian news agency also said India is reluctant to send its diplomats to tour Myanmar’s volatile region.

“Indian foreign office says independent media-persons could visit Rakhine state but the participation of diplomats has not been discussed yet,” said the report.

“India’s Ministry of External Affairs has declined to confirm the participation of Indian officials in the international ‘Diplomatic Core Team’ that is to visit Myanmar’s restive Rakhine state next week,” it added.

The team comprises diplomats from various countries invited by the Myanmar government to have a sense of the ground situation in Rakhine state where the government forces and the Rohingya community, the majority of which are Muslims, are engaged in a bloody armed conflict, according to the report.