Illegal Migration

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  • Bangladesh and the Rohingya: Implications of Refugee Re-location to Thengar Char Island

    Bangladesh may be able to manage the Rohingya refugee problem only as a short-term expedient, albeit with considerable economic implications.

    February 28, 2017

    President Trump and the Mexican Border Wall

    The reaction to President Trump’s utterances and avowed policies on the Mexican border wall and tariff has attracted strong criticism. It is surprising that Trump, who is known to view developments and decide on policies in transactional terms, appears short-sighted and unwilling to view the implications of his policies in a long-term perspective.

    February 03, 2017

    Stopping Illegal Migration from Bangladesh: Need for a Comprehensive Approach

    Stopping Illegal Migration from Bangladesh

    A comprehensive approach is needed to deal with the problem of illegal migration from Bangladesh. All the affected states would have to adopt a uniform policy, in the absence of which any amount of effort is bound to deliver only partial results.

    June 24, 2016

    Border Fencing Will Not Stop Illegal Migration

    Border Fencing Will Not Stop Illegal Migration

    Unless fundamental factors such as vested political interests, economic compulsions and non-cooperation from Bangladesh are addressed effectively, illegal migration will continue to take place, fence or no fence.

    December 26, 2014

    Depoliticising Illegal Immigration from Bangladesh to India

    With the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led coalition coming to power in India in May 2014, the issue of illegal immigration from Bangladesh has come to the forefront once again. However, the fear is whether the debate over the issue will shed more light, leading to the resolution of the problem, or whether it will simply degenerate into political rivalry and polarisation. Illegal immigration figured prominently in the run-up to the 2014 parliamentary elections and was often raised by one of the leading political parties, the BJP.

    January 2015

    Competitive politics over illegal migration from Bangladesh

    Realising the electoral significance of the issue the Congress seems to be engaging in a competitive politics with the BJP by talking of giving citizenship to even those migrants who came to India after 1971 but were persecuted in Bangladesh.

    August 08, 2014

    Politics of Illegal Immigration and India Bangladesh Relations

    The rhetoric and the politics surrounding illegal immigration issue is neither new nor is the stance of the BJP on illegal immigration unknown. It has always made a distinction between the Hindus and Muslims emigrating from Bangladesh considering the former as refugees and terming the later as illegal immigrants.

    May 16, 2014

    Mahendra Pande asked: With Hindus and Sikhs from Pakistan migrating to India, would it have a major impact on the relations between the two countries? What should be the Indian Government’s response to it?

    Ashok Kumar Behuria replies: With the rise in radicalism in Pakistan, the minority communities as a whole— both Muslim and non-Muslim minorities— including Shias, Ahmadiyas and Hindus are being attacked by Sunni radical elements. During the last year (2012), media reports about some Sikhs and some Hindus migrating to India did attract wider public attention in India. However, this is unlikely to have any major impact in India-Pakistan relations, beyond reinforcing negative perceptions about Pakistan amongst the people in India. The government of India appears determined to extend a fig leaf to the government in Pakistan and engage it in a constructive dialogue where all these issues can be taken up for discussion, without lowering its guard on the security front. The rise in extremism in Pakistan is an issue of concern for India as a neighbour; however, India has no other option but to put pressure on the Pakistan government— both through bilateral engagement and by working with the international community— to take adequate measures to contain this tide.

    Vibin Lakshmanan asked: How illegal cross-border migrations in South Asia impact regional and bilateral relations?

    P.K. Upadhyay replies: Borders are meant to insulate inmates of a house, society, or nation in a secure environment. However, borders do not seek to create airtight compartments to segregate people. They allow for regulated movement of people so that the order and lives of a community’s members are not disturbed. Illegal migrations go against the very grain of this concept of security. Maintaining border controls against illegal migrations becomes very difficult when any one country in the region achieves greater economic growth rate, better life standards, greater job opportunities, better medical facilities and education and offers more security of life against lawlessness of either the state, or the non-state players. In South Asia, this manifests itself in the form of illegal migration of people to India from practically all its neighbours.

    There are Nepalese and Bhutanese migrants who basically come to India for better job opportunities, education and medical facilities that are available here. From Bangladesh, the migrations are again driven by these factors, plus at times, by the sense of insecurity among country's Hindu and Buddhist minorities. The migration from Sri Lanka is driven by the sense of insecurity and discrimination driven by ethnic policies of the majority community that plague the country's ethnic minorities. Illegal migrations from Pakistan are mostly driven by that country’s hostile intent against the Indian state, and also due to the persecution of its minorities. The turmoil in Afghanistan also forced a large number of Afghans to come to India for security and many of those people chose to stay on in India. Such migrations upset the social and economic equilibrium in a society and generate social, economic and ethnic tensions, apart from myriad of security problems.

    Migrations also add to the pressures on the availability of civil supplies, habitat, hygiene and medical facilities. At a political level when such illegal migrants settle down at a place for longer durations, they create tensions by finding their way into the electoral processes and polity. This becomes even more complex and volatile if the government or any other agency in the migrant’s country triggers migrations in a phased manner with an extra-territorial agenda. Such problems are basically of a human nature and, to an extent, are unavoidable in the context of human growth and evolution. They require a delicate approach and handling, unless a country is willing to be labeled as insensitive and inhuman.