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India, Bangladesh Stress Safe Return of Rohingya Refugees

FILE - Displaced Rohingya are seen in a fenced-in camp during a government-organized media tour to a no-man's land between Myanmar and Bangladesh, near Taungpyolatyar village, Maung Daw, northern Rakhine State, Myanmar, June 29, 2018.

The prime ministers of India and Bangladesh have agreed on the need for greater efforts to facilitate the safe return of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees who have fled violence in Myanmar and taken refuge in Bangladesh, a joint statement said Saturday.

The statement, issued during a visit to India by Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, said that she and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi agreed that the measures should include improving security and socio-economic conditions in Myanmar's Rakhine state.

India will provide additional humanitarian aid to help refugees living in camps in Bangladesh, according to the statement.

In what has become Asia's largest refugee crisis in decades, some 700,000 Rohingya Muslims have taken shelter in Bangladesh.

The two leaders also signed agreements on security, energy and transport.

Hasina highlighted that the people of Bangladesh are awaiting implementation of a 2011 agreement for sharing water from the Teesta river, which flows from India into Bangladesh. Modi told her that his government is working with all stakeholders in India for the implementation of the agreement.

The water sharing has been blocked by the chief minister of India's West Bengal state, Mamata Banerjee, who has said the state can't spare water for Bangladesh because of its summer needs.