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Myanmar civil war: Bangladesh must be firm about territorial integrity

June 25, 2024

DHAKA – Myanmar’s internal conflict has been affecting our southeastern border, especially St Martin’s Island. How do you analyse this situation?

It is a very complex and difficult situation because we have a problem with the Rohingya population that have taken shelter in Bangladesh. We have been bearing their responsibility for the last seven years. On top of that, a new problem has cropped up: the internal conflict in Myanmar that has now come to our border. In recent times, some bullets and shells from across the Myanmar border landed on Bangladesh. In the last two or three weeks, we have been having some difficulty also in the southeastern border areas, particularly around Cox’s Bazar. We have seen St Martin’s Island coming under fire from the Myanmar side as well.

We have taken a somewhat benign approach to this issue because we consider whatever is happening in Rakhine to be an internal matter of Myanmar. That’s why we have refrained from taking any initiative other than the diplomatic one. We have lodged protests through the diplomatic channel against cross-border firing and also protested whenever there has been a report on border violations. We have also tried to maintain calm and arranged return of groups that entered Bangladesh. In the process, we sent a clear signal to the Myanmar side and to the international community that Bangladesh considers the ongoing conflict as an internal affair of Myanmar, and we have no intention and no interest to get involved in this process. Our key interest is to facilitate the quick return of the Rohingya population that have taken shelter in Bangladesh back to Myanmar as soon as possible. That remains our priority.

What implications does this conflict have for