Rohingya refugee in Bangladesh: An economic war


What implication will be happened in the soil of Bangladesh and how its socio-political and economic sectors will be affected for this long time staying of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh?

by Swadesh Roy

( October 23, 2017, Dhaka, Sri Lanka Guardian) Bangladesh has entered into a long-term problem about Rohingya refugee issue. It is totally an economic war started by Myanmar against Bangladesh. What Myanmar is doing against Rohingya people can be called textbook ethnic cleansing, one of the brutal genocides in the twenty-first century or a pre-plan human-driven policy. In that context, not only in the religion ground but also from the humanitarian ground, Bangladesh has no other ways without giving shelter to the Rohingya people.

In this current situation of the world, Bangladesh will not get more help for the Rohingya refugees from other countries. So the economy of Bangladesh has to take the huge burden for these refugees. The situation is expressing that this problem will not be solved shortly. There is no big military power which will go for a war against Myanmar. On the other hand, two regional economic and military powers – India and China are in favor of Myanmar though the cautious people of India and China are not happy with the policy of their own countries , simultaneously ,they admit the reality of the present world. Because it is not the world of the sixties, seventies even eighties- it is twenty-first century, it is the time of economic war, it is the time of economic aggression.

In this world, like a natural tragedy, the influx of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh happened. Did it happen suddenly? No, it is not a sudden incident. It is a part of an economic aggression. China, India, Russia, America even some East Asian countries want an effective Sittwe port and special economic zone in Rakhine state. China will take the lion part of the special economic zone in the Rakhine state of Myanmar. To build this economic zone, Myanmar has taken the strategy to drive away the Muslim people from Rakhine state. Now it is crystal clear that Myanmar wants to drive the Muslim people from their country not to control only the Muslim militants. There exists some other Muslim militants and among them the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) is the main group. ARSA is an ultra-militant group which is connected with IS (Islamic State), but they are not huge in number in the Rakhine; if the government of Myanmar took the decision to control or destroy the Islamic militants, they could seek help to Bangladesh. Through the joint operation in the border and targeted operation in the particular den of militant in Rakhine, Myanmar government would have been successful to destroy the ARSA. But they didn’t. Instead, they started ethnic cleansing by killing and driving the Arakan Muslim from the soil of Myanmar.

The media of the west are very much sympathetic towards Rohingya refugee, but the policy of the America is not to help refugee but to make them go back in their own country. Bangladesh also wants that Rohingya people will go back to their land, so the policy of America and Bangladesh is same though America will not pressurize Myanmar that much for their own interest. They will calculate their economic interest first. They have huge economic interest in Myanmar because it is an unexplored economy, so all the big powers now want to explore the economy of Myanmar as a part of their economic aggression. Europe has already imposed some sanctions on Myanmar but it will not be effective in twenty-first century’s economy- it was effective in nineteen and twenty century’s economy. Now in comparison with Europe, East is more powerful than Europe in economy and military. China, a single country, is bigger power than total Europe. China is not only giving support to Myanmar but they are one of the architects of these Muslim people driven policy from Myanmar to build up a port and special economic zone. So if China supports Myanmar effusively, the embargo of Europe will not be effective in Myanmar. Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia visited Bangladesh last week, and he told that for solving Myanmar problem, Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has to take more initiatives. His opinion is well but ignoring China, how far ASEAN can go? They cannot go too far.

So, the reality is that Rohingya refugees may have to get back in Myanmar but not into their home; they may have to return to a safe zone- but it will not happen very shortly. It may happen after concluding the economic design of China. This is why the Rohingya refugees will stay a long time in Bangladesh. Now a question arises, what implication will be happened in the soil of Bangladesh and how its socio-political and economic sectors will be affected for this long time staying of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh? It will hamper the regular growth rate of Bangladesh economy. In the social context, Rohingya refugees will always try to get out from the refugee camp and will try to be a Bangladeshi citizen; besides, they will try to legally and illegally go aboard from Bangladesh. Because it is a nature of the humankind, they always search a better option. All over the world, we see this scenario in the refugee.

On the other hand, in Bangladesh, socio-political position is sharply divided. One side is basically ultra- Islamic political group and other side is liberal democratic group. Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) leader, Khaleda Zia, leads the Islamic militant group. Sheikh Hasina, the present government leader, leads the liberal group. Even, the Islamic militant group is connected with Pakistan Inter-Service (ISI) and the Islamic state(IS). This is why, ultra-Islamic militant party and their natural ally Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) will try to help Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and the Islamic State (IS) by picking the young people from the Rohingya camp. In this way, Bangladesh will be a den of IS and other Islamic militant group if Khaleda lead ally get chance to run the government. But, if Sheikh Hasina runs Bangladesh, it will not be possible then Rohingya refugee has to live as a camp people getting sufficient help from the Bangladesh government. But a big question raised here that Sheikh Hasina’s tenure will be end in the December of 2018. Then she has to go for an election for being elected in the next government of Bangladesh. If Sheikh Hasina wins the election, Rohingya will remain as a camp people and the government of Bangladesh will try effectively to send them back. On the other hand, if the Islamist ally come to power under the leadership of Khaleda Zia, the Rohingya camp will be a den of IS and other Islamic militant group. Then the demography of the politics and the internal security will be changed not only in Bangladesh but also in the South Asia.

Swadesh Roy, Executive Editor. The Daily Janakantha, Dhaka, Bangladesh. He is a highest state award winning journalist; and can be reached at


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