FB   
 
Powered bysps
        Society for Policy Studies
 
 

 
Myanmar's Rohingya crisis spells grave security complexities for India
Posted:Apr 18, 2017
 
Print
Share
  
increase Font size decrease Font size
 
By Obja Borah Hazarika
 
 
The Rohingya crisis which has communal and security overtones in Myanmar has immense strategic implications for India.
 
The Rohingyas are not recognised as citizens in Myanmar under its 1982 Citizenship Act and are thus outside the ambit of legal protection in the country. Clashes between Rohingyas and non-Rohingyas have become a recurrent feature of Myanmar and the crisis has not abated despite the country's transition from the military junta to a democratically elected government. The world at large has also not been very forthcoming in lending support to the plight of the Rohingyas.
 
India, which prides itself in being a democracy has also not been very pro-active in lending its voice and wherewithal in solving the Rohingya crisis brewing in its eastern neighbourhood. India’s response to the Rohingya issue has been explained by analysts as a result of its apprehension about China’s reaction to such an involvement in Myanmar.
 
Rohingya Issue
Despite New Delhi’s apparent reluctance to engage Nay Pyi Taw with regard to its lack of determination in solving the Rohingya issue, India has become one of the favoured destinations of the Rohingyas who have become refugees due to the communal crisis in Myanmar.
 
India now houses around 14,000 Rohingya refugees, according to the UNHCR. They are spread over Jammu, Nuh in Haryana’s Mewat district, Delhi, Hyderabad, Jaipur and Chennai. The UNHCR has given Refugee Status certificates to approximately 11,000 Rohingyas in India and the remaining 3,000 are “asylum seekers”. The Indian government has also given Long Term Visas to 500 Rohingyas.
 
However, lately India has become more careful about permitting Rohingyas and they are now either turned away or sent to jail for illegal entry.
 
The quick resolution of the Rohingya issue in Myanmar is pertinent for India as the influx of Rohingyas into India is leading to the possibility of a politicisation of the issue as groups like the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, a Hindu nationalist organisation of the Sangh Parivar, has called the Rohingyas a security threat in Jammu and have been demanding their eviction. The National Conference of Jammu and Kashmir has retorted by saying that the VHP opposes the Rohingyas only on grounds of their being Muslims.
 
The VHP’s opposition to Rohingyas is being read as communally motivated as the BJP governments’ proposal of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, does not mention any rights to be extended to Muslim migrants but it does state that migrants who are Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Parsis and Christians entering India from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan will not be considered as “illegal immigrants”.
 
The ongoing crisis is also problematic for India as there are reports of radicalisation of the Rohingya population which can become a security risk for Northeast India in particular and rest of India in general.
 
Narcotics Angle
Consumption of the drug ‘ya ba’ -- Thai for "crazy medicine" -- is booming in Bangladesh. Seizures alone jumped more than 2,500 per cent to 29.4 million pills last year compared with 2011 and the business is worth an estimated $3 billion annually. 
 
Bangladesh consumes an average of 2 million such pills a day, estimated two officials at the Department of Narcotics Control (DNC) in Dhaka. Each pill retails for around 300 taka ($3.75). The same pill can be bought for around 60 taka in Cox's Bazar. Rohingya drug-runners or "mules" can earn 10,000 taka for transporting 5,000 pills to Dhaka and other urban centres. However, Rohingya mules are only a small cog in the ‘ya ba’ supply chain.
 
From negligible sales a few years ago, Bangladesh has become a big market for traffickers who source the drug (ya ba) from factories in lawless north-eastern Myanmar. Bangladesh says the influx of Rohingyas fleeing Buddhist-majority Myanmar is partly to blame for soaring methamphetamine use in its cities. But many Rohingyas say their young people are being pushed into crime because they cannot legally work or, in many cases, access aid. 
 
On the other hand, Bangladesh authorities have cited a growing drug problem as one reason for pushing ahead with a controversial scheme to move thousands of refugees from their border camps to an undeveloped island in the Bay of Bengal.
 
Susceptibility to Terrorism
The extreme persecution faced by the Rohingyas makes them vulnerable to recruitment by terrorist groups. The Harakah-al-Yaqin (Arabic for "Faith Movement") is said to be operating in Rakhine State and is said to be recruiting Rohingyas to its ranks. This group is said to have members from Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, according to a report released by the International Crisis Group (ICG). The emergence of Harakah-al-Yaqin (HaY), the first Rohingya Muslim insurgent group to organise in Myanmar in decades, signals a dangerous new phase in a crisis that is increasingly attracting the attention of extremists in Pakistan and the Middle East.
 
It is speculated that the HaY may have been born as a result of the competition for power between the Islamic State (ISIL/ISIS) and Al-Qaeda in the Indian subcontinent. The HaY could also have links with the Lashkar-e-Taiba, based in Pakistan which was responsible for the 2008 Mumbai attacks, and the Jaish-e-Mohammed, which is traced to Jammu and Kashmir. 
 
On Oct 9, 2016, HaY launched three coordinated attacks on separate police border posts in Myanmar, killing nine officers. The group claimed responsibility for the attacks in videos posted online. The recruitment of Rohingyas into this group, which has links with terrorist organisations elsewhere, can become one of the major challenges for India.
 
Since the Rohingya crisis has become a refugee issue, it is no longer only an internal matter of Myanmar. India being a country which has had many years of dealing with refugees of all kinds can aid Myanmar in mitigating this crisis. Solving the Rohingya crisis is especially important for India as it shares a border with Myanmar.
 
The continuation of communal tension and radicalisation of this group of people has the potential to spiral into grave security complexities for India. 
 
New Delhi would do well to rehabilitate the Rohingya refugees already in India and should also seek a diplomatic solution to the humanitarian crisis by pursuing the issue with Myanmar, as well as by seeking its resolution at the regional forums and international arena.
 
(The author is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Dibrugarh University, Assam. Comments and suggestions on this article can be sent to editor@spsinidia.in) 
 
 
 
 
Print
Share
  
increase Font size decrease Font size
 

Disclaimer: South Asia Monitor does not accept responsibility for the views or ideology expressed in any article, signed or unsigned, which appears on its site. What it does accept is responsibility for giving it a chance to appear and enter the public discourse.
Comments (Total Comments 0) Post Comments Post Comment
Review
 
 
 
 
spotlight image Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo has confirmed his presence for the occasion. In an exclusive interview with INDIA REVIEW & ANALYSIS, Indonesia’s Ambassador to India, Sidharto R.Suryodipuro, reminded Nilova Roy Chaudhury that the first Chief Guest for India’s Republic Day celebrations, in 1950, w
 
read-more
The words of Ho Chi Minh  “Nothing is more precious than independence and liberty” rang true for the people of the erstwhile East Pakistan when, with increasing brutality, the West Pakistani oppression spread across the land, writes Anwar A Khan from Dhaka
 
read-more
In a significant boost to New Delhi's Act East Policy, India and Japan set up the Act East Forum on Tuesday as agreed during Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's visit to India this year for the annual bilateral meeting that would help to focus and catalyse development in India's Northeast.
 
read-more
During an awards ceremony honouring six serving and former diplomats and international civil servants for their contributions to world peace and development, the UN was hailed as an institution embodying the Diwali spirit of good overcoming evil. Among those who received the award was Assistant Secretary-General Lakshmi Puri, who is al
 
read-more
When a rising power challenges an incumbent one, war often follows. That prospect, known as the Thucydides trap after the Greek historian who first described it, looms over relations between China and the West, particularly America. So, increasingly, does a more insidious confrontation. Even if China does not seek to conquer foreign la
 
read-more
The first thing that one sees when a flight approaches New Delhi is thick smog that envelopes the city and its lack of greenery.  In almost all other major cities of India lack of greenery is the most obvious sight that one sees when approaching it by air.
 
read-more

Pakistan has agreed to allow the rupee to depreciate after holding talks with the International Mone­tary Fund (IMF) on the country's economy.

 
read-more

Two major global changes in the past year; the ‘Brexit’ referendum and the advent of Donald Trump, writes Sandeep Kaur Bhatia

 
read-more

It is also imperative for India to explore other regions for markets. Its trade deficit with Latin America has been narrowing. Also, its trade with Mexico, Colombia and Guatemala has increased, ...

 
read-more
Column-image

Title: A Ticket to Syria; Author: Shirish Thorat; Publisher: Bloomsbury India: Pages: 254; Price: Rs 399

 
Column-image

Gorichen, a majestic peak in the Eastern Himalayas at an altitude of 22,500 feet, is the highest in Arunachal Pradesh. Beautiful to look at and providing a fantastic view from the top, it is extremely tough climb for mountaineers.

 
Column-image

It is often conjectured if the reason for long-standing conflicts and insurgencies, in the developing world, especially South Asia, is not only other powers fishing in troubled waters but also the keenness of arms industries, mostly Western, to...

 
Column-image

Title: The People Next Door -The Curious History of India-Pakistan Relations; Author: T.C.A. Raghavan; Publisher: HarperCollins ; Pages: 361; Price: Rs 699

 
Column-image

Could the North Korean nuclear issue which is giving the world an anxious time due to presence of hotheads on each side, the invasion of Iraq and its toxic fallout, and above all, the arms race in the teeming but impoverished South Asian subcon...