In a significant remark, the Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj asserted that Prime Minister Narendra Modi did advise the Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi to not let her image suffer due to the Rohingya crisis emanating out of Myanmar. She said that Modi did raise the issue of global outrage over violence in Rakhine state of Myanmar and that this must be taken into account.
It need be mentioned that Swaraj recalled this statement from Modi as she met Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina after joining the 4th Bangladesh-India Joint Consultative Commission meeting with her counterpart AH Mahmood Ali. “He (Modi) told her (Suu Kyi) ‘you have a very good international image, don’t destroy it’,” the Bangladesh premier’s press secretary Ihsanul Karim told PTI, quoting Swaraj as saying during her meeting with Hasina at her residence.
It is not clear when Modi made the comments, however, Bangladeshi media reports claimed he said this last month when he met Suu Kyi during his first bilateral visit to Myanmar. Karim said Swaraj extended her full support to Bangladesh’s stance that Myanmar must take back its nationals and must not punish innocent people while fighting terrorism. “Myanmar may punish the terrorists, not innocent people,” he quoted Swaraj as saying. Swaraj appreciated Bangladesh’s stand on the Rohingya issue but described the exodus of forcibly displaced people as a “big burden for Bangladesh”.