Bangladesh needs to strengthen its diplomatic ties to cool tensions on the Myanmar border. We cannot write off the link between Myanmar's decision to deploy troops along the bordering areas, opening fire to unsettle the Rohingya repatriation process and forcing the remaining Rohingyas in their country to leave their land. This is not only creating pressure on Bangladesh and the Rohingyas, but is also tantamount to challenging the United Nations and the international community.
Myanmar's policy to force 6022 Rohingyas at the Tambru refugee camp to stay in Bangladesh hints that they have turned a blind eye to the call of the international communities. It appears that they are not interested about a peaceful solution. They believe that Rohingyas are not Myanmar citizens and they will not hesitate to flex their muscles to send these 'Bangladeshis' back.
We are surprised to see the international community remaining silent over the exercise of power by the Suu Kyi government. Washington have only said that they were observing the situation with grave concern. We expected faster response from friends like India, China and Russia. What Myanmar said during the latest flag meeting between its Border Guard Police (BGP) and Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB), explaining the move to deploy troops, is unacceptable.
What Myanmar government spokesman Zaw Htay told AFP is devoid of truth. "We acted this way based on the information we got regarding terrorism, especially the ARSA (Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army) movement," he told the news agency.
Bangladesh and Myanmar have conducted joint drives to nab ARSA terrorists in the past. If they were to launch an anti-terrorism drive, they could have assembled forces informing Bangladesh as per border treaties and international norms. The question is, why did not they do so?
If Myanmar fails to earn the trust of Bangladesh and its people in its efforts to contain a terrorist organisation of the Rohingyas, its foreign policy will be rendered suicidal. We believe that Bangladesh should immediately reach out to common allies of both the countries.
We recall former Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi's decision to speak to the allies of Pakistan to address the refugee crisis in 1971. Lack of steps on the diplomatic front suggests Bangladesh is not giving the issue due importance.
Bangladesh believes in peace and amicable solutions. But it has to remain vigilant to save itself as well. It is time to consider writing to the United Nations and other friendly states to apprise them of the present condition on the borders.