India commits $25 million to develop Rakhine State

India and Myanmar have signed an MoU with New Delhi pledging $25 million to develop Rakhine State, from where thousands of Rohingya Muslims have fled to Bangladesh following a military crackdown, it was announced on Thursday.

"The amount of commitment is $25 million over five years, which is an indicative figure and depends on the actual requirement and utilisation," External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said.

"There are several aspects of the discussions and what we intend to do with Myanmar and how we intend to help them with the objective of restoration of normalcy in Rakhine State and enable the return of the displaced persons," he said.

He said India would welcome any effort between Myanmar and any other country which could help this process.

The Memorandum of Understanding was signed during Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar's visit to Myanmar on Wednesday.

According to a statement from the External Affairs Ministry, it is the first government to government agreement signed by the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement of Myanmar with a cooperation partner focused on socio-economic development and livelihood initiatives in Rakhine State.

It is intended to help the Myanmar government achieve its objective of restoration of normalcy in Rakhine State and enable the return of displaced persons.

The MoU stated that India proposed to take up, among others, a project to build prefabricated housing in Rakhine State to meet the immediate needs of returning people.

More than 650,000 Rohingyas fled to neighbouring Bangladesh since violence erupted in Rakhine State in August.

The minority Rohingya community does not enjoy citizenship in Myanmar and is sparingly given refugee status in Bangladesh.

Jaishankar also called on Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, Union Minister in State Counsellor's Office U Kyaw Tint Swe and Union Minister for Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement Win Myat Aye.

--IANS

ab/mr


(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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