In a significant development, India on Wednesday inked a pact with Myanmar to develop its troubled Rakhine province to facilitate return and rehabilitation of Rohingya Muslim population, who were forced to migrate following large-scale violence against the community.Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar, currently in Myanmar’s capital Nay Pyi Taw signed the agreement with Deputy Minister for Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement U Soe Aung. Rakhine state is key to India’s Act East initiative. The trilateral highway and the Kaladan Multi-Modal Transport project, which forms the bedrock for promoting India’s connectivity with Myanmar and beyond into the Asean region, passes through Sittwe, the capital of Rakhine.”This is intended to help the government of Myanmar achieve its objective of restoration of normalcy in Rakhine State and enable the return of displaced persons,” the external affairs ministry said. Under this MoU, India proposes to take up, among others, a project to build prefabricated housing in Rakhine State so as to meet the immediate needs of the returning people. During the visit, Jaishankar called on State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, Union MoS Counsellor’s Office U Kyaw Tint Swe and Union Minister for Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement Dr Win Myat Aye. Jaishankar’s visit is of importance after more than 650,000 Rohingyas fled to neighbouring Bangladesh and India’s initial hesitation to take any stand on the issue.
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