On May 4, 2023, the newly elected President of Bangladesh, Mohammed Shahabuddin, appealed to India to persuade Myanmar to retake the Rohingya refugees who took shelter in Bangladesh due to severe persecution in Myanmar.
A presidential spokesman told reporters that the Bangladesh President made the request when the Indian Ambassador (High Commissioner) Pranay Verma met him at Bangabhaban in Dhaka.
The Indian High Commissioner paid a courtesy call to the Bangladeshi President and conveyed warm greetings from President Droupadi Murmu and PM Narendra Modi.
During the meeting, President Shahabuddin said that Bangladesh had sheltered ethnic Rohingyas for humanitarian reasons. Still, their presence and their habitat are generating problems not only for Bangladesh itself but for the South Asian region too. This has taken the form of terrorism and escalated security risks.
Around one million Rohingyas fled a crackdown by the Myanmar Military in 2017 in Rakhine State and have taken shelter in various camps in Bangladesh, especially in Cox Bazaar.
India has always called for the sustainable and speedy return of displaced persons to the Rakhine State in Myanmar. India has worked with Bangladesh and Myanmar to resolve the issue.
Mohammed Shahabuddin has said that Bangladesh attaches the highest importance to its relations with India, which are closely linked by geographical proximity, history and sacrifices. According to him, bilateral ties are strong and unique.
As a war veteran, the Bangladeshi President recalled the training he received during his stay in India.
Additionally, he expressed that the PM of Bangladesh and India recently visited each other’s capitals, and their visits have opened a new chapter in the relationship between the two countries.
Shahabuddin said that Bangladesh has given India full access to Chattogram and Mongla Port for transporting goods from the mainland to northeastern states. As per Shahabuddin, the move will significantly cut time and cost and boost regional connectivity in the Bay of Bengal.
He also noted that the two countries’ unresolved issues, including the water distribution agreement, would be resolved with cooperation and discussion.
New Delhi and Dhaka signed the ACMP (Chittagong and Mongla Port) agreement in 2018. This will enable and further boost the two countries socio-economic development, along with an increase in trade and commerce.
“Connectivity has been growing tremendously in the last one and a half decades. As a result, the people of both countries are enjoying the benefits,” Verma added.
“The Connectivity between the two countries has increased manifold over the last 15 years. People from both countries are enjoying this.” The Indian Envoy informed the appreciation for Bangladesh’s Zero Tolerant Policy against terrorism that has brought stability and positive contribution to the economic development of both countries.”