India B'desh in touch for return of refugees at sea

India in touch with Bangladesh for return of Rohingya refugees found on boat adrift in Andaman Sea

Representative image. Credit: Reuters File Photo

India is in touch with Bangladesh to ensure the safe and secure repatriation of the Rohingya refugees onboard a boat that has been adrift in the Andaman Sea for weeks.

The Indian Coast Guard deployed two ships and found the boat, which had sailed from Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh on February 11 last with 90 people onboard – 64 women including eight young girls and 26 men including five young boys. The Indian Coast Guard ships provided food, water and medical assistance to the people on the boat.

“The engine of the boat failed on February 15 and since then it has been drifting. Due to the severe conditions, we understand that eight occupants have died and one of the occupants has been missing since February 15,” Anurag Srivastava, the spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, said. Seven of the people on the boat were administered IV fluids after the Indian Coast Guard personnel found it.

“We understand that around 47 of the occupants of the boat are in possession of ID cards issued to them by UNHCR (United Nations High Commission for Refugees) office in Bangladesh stating that they are displaced Myanmar nationals and person of concern to UNHCR registered by the Government of Bangladesh,” said the MEA spokesperson.

“We are in discussions with the Government of Bangladesh to ensure their safe and secure repatriation,” he added.


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