NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India has handed over 250 prefabricated houses it built in Myanmar’s Rakhine state as part of a broader effort to help tens of thousands of Rohingya Muslims to return, an Indian official said on Thursday.
A campaign by Myanmar’s military in response to insurgent attacks in 2017 drove 730,000 Rohingya Muslims to flee to Bangladesh, where they live in squalid camps, fearing further persecution if they return.
But an Indian official said the conditions had to be created for the Rohingyas’ return and India had started its $25 million development plan with a cluster of houses.
The houses, which were handed over to Myanmar authorities earlier this week, are in the villages of Shwe Zar, Kyein Chaung Taung and Nant Thar Taung.
Activists say that development projects in Rakhine will have little impact unless human rights issues are addressed.
The Indian official said Myanmar authorities had given New Delhi a list of 21 more projects for Rakhine, including schools and marketplaces.
India has deepened ties with Myanmar in recent years, including military cooperation, as a way to push back against China’s expansive involvement in infrastructure development across south Asia.
Reporting by Sanjeev Miglani; Editing by Kevin Liffey