Over a Million Rohingyas a 'Big Burden' on Bangladesh, India Can Play Major Role: Sheikh Hasina

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Saturday said that Rohingya refugees are a “big burden” on Bangladesh and the country is reaching out to the international community to ensure they return to their homeland.

Confessing that the presence of lakhs of refugees in the country had created challenges, the Prime Minister said she believes India could play a major role in resolving the issue, in an interview with news wire agency ANI.

“Well you know… for us it’s a big burden. India is a vast country; you can accommodate but you don’t have much. But in our country… we have 1.1 million Rohingya. So well… we are consulting with the international community and also our neighbouring countries, they should also take some steps so that they can go back home,” she said.

Hasina added that her government had tried to take care of the displaced community on humanitarian grounds.

“On humanitarian ground we give them shelter and providing everything…during Covid, we vaccinated all the Rohingya community. But how long they will stay here? So in the camp they are staying. Our environment hazard is there. Then some people engage in drug trafficking or some arms conflict, women trafficking. Day by day it is increasing.

“So as quick as they return home it is good for our country and also for Myanmar. So we have been trying our best to pursue them, we’re discussing with them and also the international community, like ASEAN or UNO, then other countries,” she told ANI.

“But India as a neighbour country, they can play a big role on it, I feel that,” Hasina added.

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During the interview, she was also asked about her country’s cooperation with India on sharing the Teesta river territory, to which she replied that while there were challenges, they could be resolved mutually.

“It is very sad that, we are in a… you know… downstream. So water is coming from India, so India should show more broadness. Because both the countries will be beneficiaries. So sometimes our people suffered a lot because of this need of water.

“Especially Teesta, we could not go for harvest and so many problems take place. So I think it should be solved but, yes we found that the Prime Minister is very eager to solve this problem, but the problem is in your country. So, we hope it should be solved,” Hasina said.

She added that India and Bangladesh also shared water of the river Ganges. “Only Ganges water we share. The water, we signed the treaty. But we have another 54 rivers. So it’s a long standing problem, so it should be solved,” she said.

The Prime Minister is set to begin her four-day visit to India from Monday.

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