Identity Politics and India’s Refugee Policy

This past August marked a year since the forced displacement of more than 700,000 Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar – an act that sparked global outrage. To make matters worse, not much has improved for this stateless population. As Bangladesh and Myanmar stagger over a premature and faulty  deal for the return of the Rohingya, their neighbor to the west has mostly sat out of the crisis. India, the most stable democracy in the region, has done little more than threaten to deport Rohingya refugees from its soil and extend support to the repatriation agreement between Dhaka and Naypyidaw.

A look at India’s refugee response over the years shows why India is unlikely to budge on the Rohingya issue. An increase in sentiments of religious nationalism over the years makes it unsurprising that an otherwise constitutionally secular state would allow religion to determine the fate of refugees who knock on its borders for asylum.

To read the rest of the article, go to The Fletcher Forum.

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