The officials at the meeting said that deportation was not a practical response to the ongoing Rohingya crisis.
New Delhi: Soon after India was pulled up at the United Nations for its stance on deporting Rohingya refugees back to Myanmar, intelligence experts met in the prime minister’s office on Tuesday (September 12) evening to discuss strategy,
According to an NDTV report, the meeting was called by Nripendra Misra, the top aide to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and attended by NSA Ajit Doval and the head of intelligence agencies. The focus of the meeting, the channel’s report says, was on the possible links between Rohingya militants and militant groups in Pakistan, including the Lashkar-e-Tayyaba.
“In our assessment, penetration of Pakistan-based terrorist outfits among Rohingya Muslims community is a serious emerging threat, as the same would ultimately be used for targeting India,” an intel report that was discussed at the meeting reportedly says. It also mentions the links between the militants and Lashkar, saying that the Pakistan-based group arms Rohingya militants. The report also contains an image of Lashkar chief Hafiz Saeed addressing what is identified as a Rohingya militant outfit in Karachi in July 2012 and says that top commanders of the group participated in a 2012 conference organised by Rohingya militants in Bangladesh.
The timing of the meeting and the seniority of those attending, NDTV said, suggests that the UN reprimand has not gone down well in India. Even at the UN, the Indian representative made a long rebuttal speech.
The same evening as the meeting, Union minister of state for home Kiren Rijiju tweeted:
This chorus of branding India as villain on Rohingya issue is a calibrated design to tarnish India's image. It undermines India's security.
— Kiren Rijiju (@KirenRijiju) September 13, 2017
Rijiju had brought up the deportation issue publicly, saying India was in talks with Myanmar and Bangladesh on the process. India claims to house around 40,000 Rohingya people at the moment, a large number of whom have UNHCR refugee cards.
The officials at last night’s meeting, however, told NDTV that deportation was not a practical response. “Where will you deport them? Myanmar refuses to accept them,” said one official. “The focus is now on increased border patrolling, however, that’s not easy due to the sheer size (of the border region),” said another.
The NDTV report also noted that there exist other “red flags” for India in the intelligence report as well: “a Pakistani Al Qaeda operative called Maulana Ustad Wazeer visited Thailand last month to train Rohingya militants. Intelligence officials are also trying to determine if a Rohingya in Kashmir was the guide for terrorists who crossed the border last month for a major attack on a police compound in Pulwama in which eight security personnel were killed 25 km from Srinagar”.