General Assembly General Assembly

General Assembly Informal Meeting on Myanmar


[26 February 2021]


Remarks by Ambassador T.S. Tirumurti,

Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations


Mr. President,

I thank you for organizing this important session and thank Special Envoy Christine Schraner Burgener for her briefing on the latest developments in Myanmar.

2.       India shares a land and maritime border with Myanmar and has direct stakes in the maintenance of peace and stability.   The recent developments in Myanmar, are therefore being closely monitored by India. We remain deeply concerned that the gains made by Myanmar over the last decades on the path towards democracy, should not get undermined.

3.       As the largest democracy, we have always been steadfast in our support to the process of democratic transition in Myanmar for it to emerge as a stable democratic federal union. A significant area of our focus has been capacity building, including in the areas of constitution and federalism for political leaders and elected representatives. We believe that the rule of law and democratic process must be upheld, those detained be released and that calm prevails. We call on the Myanmar leadership to work together to resolve their differences in a peaceful and constructive manner.

4. India as a close friend and neighbour of Myanmar and its people, will continue to closely monitor the situation and will remain in discussion with like-minded countries so that the hopes and aspirations of the people are respected. Restoring democratic order should be the priority of all stakeholders in Myanmar. The international community must lend its constructive support to the people of Myanmar at this critical juncture.

Mr. President,

5. Let me now turn to the issue of displaced persons from the Rakhine state of Myanmar. As the only country that shares a long border with both Bangladesh and Myanmar, India has the highest stake in resolving the issue of repatriation of the displaced persons.

6. We have continued to counsel our partners on the need for a balanced and constructive approach to this issue. For this, mobilization of support for the developmental needs of the local people is crucial. India has been consistently encouraging stakeholders to find practical and pragmatic solutions.

7. Towards this end, our support has been for people on the ground at both Cox’s Bazar and in the Rakhine State. We have contributed 5 tranches of aid to displaced people from Rakhine in Bangladesh and have formalized an arrangement with Myanmar to undertake developmental work in the Rakhine State under the Rakhine State Development Programme.

8. Despite Covid restrictions, our efforts under this programme are ongoing and include handing over of houses, water and electricity supply projects, construction of roads, etc. in the Rakhine State. India has also entered into trilateral cooperation project agreement in the Rakhine State and will be happy to cooperate with other partners in this regard. We have also embarked on an ambitious connectivity project being implemented in the Rakhine and the Chin states of Myanmar for the benefit of the local population. This is reflective of our desire to find peace and stability in the region at the earliest and to ensure an early return of the displaced persons to Myanmar.

Mr. President,

9. India commends Bangladesh for hosting a million displaced persons in its territory. It is important for the international community to recognize and understand the humanitarian burden that Bangladesh continues to face and the efforts it has undertaken to ensure the well-being of the displaced persons. The international community must further support, financially and otherwise, efforts of the Government of Bangladesh and also assist in ensuring that issues relating to radicalization in the camps and other security challenges are addressed in an expeditious manner. This should include making provisions for skill development, providing education and ensuring adequate medical support.

10. The issue of displaced persons from the Rakhine state of Myanmar needs an early resolution. We need to ensure that the recent developments in Myanmar do not impede the progress made so far. The international community must encourage and support positive steps.

11. A collaborative and consensus-based approach is key to arrive at a meaningful and practical outcome. We must work to address the challenges that the concerned stakeholders continue to face so that this humanitarian problem is resolved in a timely manner. India will continue to work with both the Governments of Bangladesh and Myanmar to enable the earliest return of displaced persons to their homes in the Rakhine State in a manner that is safe, speedy and sustainable.

12. In the difficult circumstances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, India has also been providing medical aid to both Myanmar and Bangladesh, including the supply of vaccines. We have so far provided 3.7 million doses of vaccines to Myanmar and 9 million doses to Bangladesh. Our commitment to our neighbors remains steadfast.  India will continue to play a constructive role in this regard.

I thank you.