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Rohingya crisis: India announces $25 million aid to restore normalcy in Rakhine State

Rohingya refugees who fled from Myanmar wait to be let through by Bangladeshi border guards after crossing the border in Palang Khali, Bangladesh. Photograph:( Reuters )

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Dec 22, 2017, 04.00 AM (IST)

India on Thursday announced a $25 million development assistance package for Myanmar's troubled Rakhine State which has become the epicentre of Rohingya exodus to Bangladesh.

India's announcement comes after foreign secretary S Jaishankar held talks with Myanmarese leaders in Myanmar's capital Nay Pyi Taw on Wednesday. 

The amount is set to be spent over a period of 5 years. Myanmar's Rakhine State has become the focus of world attention with allegation of large-scale persecution being carried out by the military forcing several thousand Rohingyas to flee to neighbouring Bangladesh.

"The amount of commitment to the development efforts is $25 million over five years which is an indicative figure and depends on the actual requirement and utilisation," external affairs ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said.  

The external affairs spokesman said there were several other aspects of discussions which included how India can help Myanmar restore normalcy in Rakhine State and help in the repatriation of Rohingyas who have fled. The spokesman also added that India welcomes intervention by any country which help in restoring normalcy in Myanmar.

India and Myanmar had earlier on Wednesday signed an agreement on restoration of normalcy and development in Rakhine State. 

Meanwhile, as the Rohingya crisis brews, Myanmar said two journalists who were detained in Myanmar on December 12 have appeared in court and remanded to judicial custody.

Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo who were reporting from Rakhine State were detained by Myanmar authorities after accusing them of violating the Official Secrets Act which carries a maximum prison sentence of 14 years.