Push Myanmar to force return of Rohingyas, UN chief tells India

United Nations Secretary General (UNSG) Antonio Guterres on his maiden official visit to India, on Tuesday underlined the importance of the country to steer a currently chaotic world order towards a multi polar arrangement.

Guterres was delivering a public lecture on Global Challenges, Global Solutions in Delhi. He said ‘never before has multilateralism and a rules based international order come under so much fire’ referring to tensions and trade wars between major powers, including US and China, reports tribuneindia.com.

‘It is essential to create factors of equilibrium to create multi-polar world and for that no country is in better placed than India due to its dimension, technological capacity, geo-strategic location. India is absolutely essential component of future multi-polar world,’ Guterres said.

Responding in details to a question on the Rohingya refugee crisis, the UN chief said no other community in the world is as discriminated against as the Rohingya who faced exodus in Myanmar.

He expressed disbelief at the Buddhist fundamentalism that led to deep hate mongering towards the Rohingya and said India has a major role to play as Bangladesh provided shelter to millions of refugees on its soil. ‘What can India do now? First, support Bangladesh with the huge humanitarian problem it faces now. Second, India must put pressure on Myanmar, not just in reconstruction of Rohingya villages, but also in creating the environment for these people to go back,’ said Guterres.

Guterres who visited the refugee camps at Cox’s Bazaar earlier this year, cautioned that if not handled carefully, the displaced Rohingya could be vulnerable to terror recruitments. ‘Fortunately there aren’t many Rohingyas, who have been recruited, and we have been able to avoid the situation so far, but discrimination and unresolved problems facilitate terrorist groups,’ he added.

The Secretary General also expressed concern at complexities of terrorism today, with inter linked fighters, state sponsored terror and no common definition of terrorism yet. Asked about snail’s pace of Security Council expansion and India’s aspirations for a seat on the high table, the top diplomat underscored that reforms are in hands of member states themselves. Guterres refused to comment on a recent Office of Human Rights High Commissioner report highlighting alleged atrocities in Kashmir, citing respect for its independent mandate. Pakistani Foreign Minister Qureshi during the General Assembly claimed to have discussed the report with UNSG.