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 I am honored to be here today for the first U.S. government exchange alumni conference for India and Bhutan.
 
read-more
The European Union and India should work closely to bring peace, stability and development in Afghanistan, Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades has said.
 
read-more
On a self-imposed trial of three months, the Mehbooba Mufti government in Jammu and Kashmir has gone for what it believes to be a slam dunk.
 
read-more
spotlight image Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sprang a surprise when he registered himself as a candidate in Iran’s presidential election scheduled for May 19. After leaving the office of President in 2013 at the end of two controversial terms, the firebrand populist has been largely inactive in politics. 
 
read-more
That China strictly implements the UN Security Council resolutions that sanction North Korea is seen by all. If Pyongyang continues with its nuclear and missile tests, China is bound to support more harsh resolutions on this country.
 
read-more
India should be extremely wary of any Trump involvement on the Kashmir issue because he would do anything to bring India to the table, writes Dr. Susmit Kumar for South Asia Monitor.
 
read-more
A pre-dawn  suicide terror attack (fidayeen)  on an army camp in the Kupwara district of Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday (April 27)   resulted in the death of three army personnel including an officer,  while two terrorists were neutralized. Combing operations are in progress to ascertain if any of the attackers have
 
read-more
The core parts of the controversial Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system have been moved to the site of what had been a golf course in southern South Korea.
 
read-more
Health of the citizens and the economy of the nation they inhabit go hand in hand and every buck spent on former guarantees a manifold increase in the latter,  said noted public health expert K Srikant Reddy. The lecture 'Health and Development: India Must Bridge the Disconnect' was ...
 
read-more
Column-image

Title: Bollywood Boom; Author: Roopa Swaminathan; Publisher: Penguin; Price: Rs 399; Pages: 221

 
Column-image

Title: Defeat is an Orphan: How Pakistan Lost the Great South Asian War; Author: Myra Macdonald; Publisher: Penguin Random House India; Pages: 328; Price: Rs 599

 
Column-image

  The story of Afghanistan -- of the war against the Soviets and of terrorism that has gripped the landlocked country ever since -- is in many ways also the story of diplomat Masood Khalili, who motivated his people and led them...

 
Column-image

Title: The Golden Legend; Author: Nadeem Aslam; Publisher: Penguin Random House; Pages: 376; Price: Rs 599

 
Column-image

Over the Years, a collection of 106 short articles, offers us interesting sidelights on the currents and cross- currents in the public life of India during two distinctive periods: (I) 1987 to 1991 and (II ) 2010 to the present.

 
Subscribe to our newsletter
Archive