Understanding the Burning Rohingya Issue and the Impact on India and China

The Rohingya Issue started after a gruesome attack carried on by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army on 25th August 2017 and Myanmar Military forces took action. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has called the Rohingya Issue a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing”. Is China taking advantage of the Rohingya Issue to regain its standing with Myanma?.

The atrocities allegedly carried on by the military forces of Myanmar forced over 600,000 Rohingyas to look for shelter in Bangladesh. Many people all over the world raised their voice against the alleged crimes of Myanmar Military against humanity.

India’s take on Myanmar and the Rohingya issue

Myanmar is India’s gateway to the whole of Southeast Asia and beyond and to counter the security related consequences of China’s increasing presence in the Southeast Asia. It can also play a pivotal role in India’s efforts to curb insurgency in the Northeastern states of the country.

Also Read: Is China Against the Expansion of Indian Military Base in Seychelles?

The relationship between Myanmar and India were expected to get better and smoother with the democratization of Myanmar after the National League of Democracy (NDL), came into power in the country in 2015. And this victory was seen as a beginning of long and strong cooperation between India and Myanmar.

This relationship met complications that came in with the Rohingya issue. While the international community was condemning the actions of Myanmar military, India chose to keep its opinion to itself. This move was made considering China’s growing strength in the Southeast Asia and importance ofa cordial and strong relationship with Myanmar and it was decided that condemning and putting off the Myanmar government would be a grave mistake.Along with security threat from Chinese in the
Southeast Asia, another threat is likely to elevate as according to the Asia Times

“Given thE security situation, New Delhi fears that the Northeast insurgent
groups might get further leverage from Rohingya who have staged similar kinds of attacks against Myanmar government forces.”

Rohingya Issue – China’s chance to build back a stronger ties with Myanmar

While Myanmar faced criticism from the whole of the world over the Rohingya issue, to gain back its lost glory, China showed its support for the government of Myanmar even at the UN Security Council. It even offered to mediate the efforts of Myanmar and Bangladesh to end the Rohingya issue and this crisis by proposing an approach consisting of three stages.

Also Read: EU may impose Sanctions against Myanmar over Rohingya Crisis

This support from China for Myanmar comes because of Myanmar’s crucial position in the China Belt and Road Initiative and Rakhine state in Myanmar also serves China’s energy and security needs by giving Chinese oil corporations easy and quick access to the deep sea port at Kyaukpyu. The Rohingyaissue also posses a threat to China’s internal security as the predominant Uyghur Muslims, in China’s far eastern Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, are claiming the said region was illegally occupied and attached to the People’s Republic in 1949 and is not really a part of China. And the Rohingya issue increases the chances of a large scale Islamic radicalisation within the community of Uyghur Muslims
and more agitation in the Xinjiang region by the separatists.

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