In a show of solidarity with Myanmar, India on Thursday refused to be a part of a declaration adopted at an international conference in Nusa Dua in Indonesia as it carried “inappropriate” reference to violence in Rakhine state from where 125,000 Rohingyas have fled to Bangladesh.
An Indian parliamentary delegation, led by Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, dissociated itself from the ‘Bali Declaration’ adoped at the ‘World Parliamentary Forum on Sustainable Development’.
“This was in view of the fact that the declaration, which was to be adopted at the conclusion of the Forum, was not in line with the agreed global principles of ‘sustainable development’,” said a press release issued by the Lok Sabha Secretariat.
India reiterated its stance that the purpose of convening the Parliamentary forum was to arrive at mutual consensus for implementation of SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) which requires inclusive and broad-based development processes, it said.
“Therefore, the proposed reference to the violence in Rakhine state in the declaration was considered as not consensus-based and inappropriate,” the release said.
The part of the declaration to which India objected spoke of the forum expressing “deep concern on ongoing violence in the Rakhine State of Myanmar, amongst others…”
The declaration went on to “call on all parties to contribute to the restoration of stability and security, exercise maximum self-restraint from using violent means, respect the human rights of all people in Rakhine State regardless of their faith and ethnicity, as well as facilitate and guarantee safe access for humanitarian assistance.”
The Indian delegation took the stance on a day Prime Minister Narendra Modi concluded his visit to Myanmar where he expressed solidarity with the government there against the “extremist violence” in the Rakhine state.
Modi urged all stakeholders to find a solution that respects the country’s unity.
“The country-specific amendment to the draft declaration was proposed at the eleventh hour by selective countries which referred to the violence in Rakhine state of Myanmar.
“India argued that specifying a particular country is unjustified as this Forum is focussed on SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) and inclusive development for all countries based on cooperative and collaborative approach to achieve the 2030 Agenda for the world,” the press release said.
India said, “Never before ‘country-specific’ issues have been included in the declaration as these dilute the objective of these Forums which require unity and focussed efforts of all the countries,” the release said.
IMAGE: Prime Minister Narendra Modi with the State Counsellor of Myanmar Aung San Suu Kyi at Presidential Palace in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar. Photograph: PIB