2018-CGS-34: Mains Revision-23: Internal Security

Indian Refugee Policy and Internal Security

Refugees are the people who have been forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster. The tough stance of the government against Rohingya refugees who are referred as world’s most persecuted minorities is put into question in the Supreme Court.

Indian refugee policy

The successive governments have dealt with refugee question on case by case basis. Various approaches of India towards refugees

  • The Tibetan refugees were given the Registration Certificates and the Identity Certificates.
  • The Sri Lankan Tamils, who fled their country, were classified as “camp refugees” and “non-camp refugees”.
  • The minority refugees – Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians – from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan were allowed to stay in India on Long Term Visas.

In 2015 MP Shashi Tharoor introduced a Private Member’s Bill titled the Asylum Bill, 2015 in the Lok Sabha. The Bill seeks to provide for the establishment of a legal framework to deal with refugee problem. But, the Bill has not yet been taken up for consideration.

Should India have a open door policy towards refugees?

India opening of its door to refugees is vital because

  • It reiterates the value system of India which underlines “VASUDEVA KUTUMBAKAM” and India will stand with the vulnerable.
  • It increases India’s stature of Champion of Human rights in International arena.
  • It corresponds to high standards India has shown during crisis of Chakma refugees and Tibetan refugees.
  • It aids India in building Image of India in international arena and a definite stance will belittle the critics who critise India as a fence sitter.
  • When India’s demand of permanent Seat in UNSC comes to question. It’s humanitarian approach with refugees will be of great advantage.

But India’s open door will open Pandora box of challenges because

  • India is located in the close neighborhood of Instability. Open doors may adversely affect India’s internal and external security.
  • The open door for bangla refugees during the 1971 war is burdening India even today. The refugee issue has taken communal color and is posing a serious challenge for India.
  • India is facing a deficit to effectively mould its human resources and creating employment. Open doors will increase the financial burden of India.
  • India doesn’t have any legal obligation as it is not a signatory to UN refugee convention.

Refugee crisis is deeply intertwined with the aspects of International issues, Security challenges, demography, and India’s diversity. Therefore rather than having a clear cut directions for government through a policy the government of the day must be empowered to take decisions based on the prevailing circumstances.

Rohingya crisis

Rohingyas are stateless ethnic group facing persecution in the regions of Rakhine state in Myanmar. There are referred as world’s most persecuted minority group by UNO.

Rohingya Crisis as a challenge to India’s Internal Security

  • Rohingyas are illegally entering India. IB report suggests Pakistan agency ISI and ISIS are having footholds among the refugees. Both these agencies are posing serious challenge to sovereignty of the country.
  • Rohingyas have taken up war against the establishment. A support to Rohingyas by India may put the India’s fight against Kashmiri militants on back foot in international arena.
  • Influx of Rohingyas to the north-east may charge the communal atmosphere of North-east which is already facing communal tensions due to illegal Bangladeshi migrants.
  • India needs an effective support of Myanmar to curb the menace of insurgency in North-east. India’s soft corner and support for Rohingyas may alleviate Myanmar establishment against India.
  • Rohingyas belong to Muslim community. Fundamentalists are using the Rohingya issue to spread religious fundamentalism among the Muslim minority in India.

Measures to address the Rohingya crisis

India cannot remain to be isolated from the issue of Rohingyas. There needs a fine balance between Governments sovereignty in dealing with the crisis and addressing human right issues of Rohingyas. India must walk tight rope by

  • India must push Myanmar to find an amicable solution to the identity issue of Rohingyas.
  • Support the Myanmar establishment’s right to fight against violent elements and armed groups among Rohingyas.
  • Encourage Myanmar to find the humanistic solution to the issue of Rohingya refugees. Rohingyas rights must be respected by the Myanmar government.
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