Rohingya Crisis: Dhaka must have cohesive security strategy

Dhaka – Bangladesh must find a comprehensive solution to the Rohingya crisis and work out a ‘cohesive security strategy’ to deal with all the potential threats, says a security analyst, reports UNB.

“Otherwise, the security of the state will be in serious jeopardy,” President of Bangladesh Institute of Peace and Security Studies (BIPSS) Maj Gen (retd) ANM Muniruzzaman told UNB on Monday.

Taking advantage of Rohingya crisis and exploiting extremely vulnerable Rohingyas, non-state actors can jeopardise the internal security of Bangladesh, he observed.

“As more Rohingya arrive on a daily basis, there are a number of states and non-state actors that might try to exploit the security situation in this country,” said the expert.

In his recent paper ‘Rohingya Refugee Crisis in Bangladesh: Its Multi-Dimensional Implications’ Muniruzzaman made the observation analysing all the security dimensions — human security, internal security, transnational security, militancy and terrorism and border security.

He said the Rohingya situation is urgent and complex, and the mass exodus of the Rohingya is already putting enormous stress on the limited resources of Bangladesh.

He thinks the easy availability of small arms and drugs can greatly jeopardise the security situation in Bangladesh, as more drug cartels and criminal gangs would mushroom near the border areas, he said in his recent analysis on the issue.

“We have to accept our shortcomings and try and device a new strategy how to engage our neighbours and beyond neighbours to find a durable solution,” the BIPSS chief said.

He also made a presentation on a security perspective of the Rohingya crisis at a Cosmos Foundation dialogue on ‘Domestic, Regional and International Dimensions of the Rohingya Issue: Dealing with a Man-made Crisis’ on Saturday in the city.

Focusing on environmental aspects, Muniruzzaman said Bangladesh is vulnerable to environmental challenges due to the Rohingya crisis.

He said the situation is causing severe degradation of the locality, human induced-degradation of the environment and massive deforestation.

Rohingyas have resorted to widespread deforestation, causing severe land degradation of the locality.

“Bangladesh is already vulnerable to a new threat from human-induced degradation of the environment that can have a long-term impact on its environmental security,” he mentioned in the paper.

Any instability at the Bangladesh-Myanmar border may give a rise to the emergence of non-state actors and this can complicate the internal security of the states, Muniruzzaman said.

He said the geographical proximity of the Golden Triangle and the Golden Crescent makes Bangladesh an attractive route for drug smuggling. “The international gangs will exploit Rohingya as couriers for the drugs and small arms smuggling.”

The BIPSS chief said Rohingyas are extremely vulnerable to all sorts of exploitations, including ‘survival sex’.

They might get involved in petty crimes influenced by criminal gangs, said the security analyst adding that terror organisations will benefit from the situation.

“We haven’t judged and analysed our position very objectively before we talk to people. We have to understand the play of geopolitics, geo-economics and geo-energy and then analyse everything,” he said.

Muniruzzaman said China and India realign their positions and side with Myanmar on Rohingya issue. “Both countries have a huge strategic and economic interest in Myanmar. Russia has also taken a stand to support Myanmar on the issue.”

He sees a new game of power realignment in the region and said Bangladesh has to be extremely smart to play its game.

Muniruzzaman said many militant and terrorist groups have called for jihad in response to the prolonged Rohingya crisis in Rakhine State.

“Transnational terror organisations are calling for recruitment for jihad in Myanmar as stories of thousands of Rohingya victims are broadcast on the Internet,” he said.

Over 536,000 Rohingyas entered Bangladesh since August 25 seeking shelter and safety in Bangladesh.


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