Refugees International notes with alarm that Bangladesh and Myanmar have reached an agreement on the repatriation of Rohingya refugees, which is due to begin as early as 23 January. The two governments reportedly reached the agreement at a bilateral meeting of a joint working group on returnees that met on 16 January in Naypyitaw, Myanmar`s capital. Regardless, the last major action by the Tatmadaw (Myanmar army) against the Rohingya population in 2017 resulted in a mass exodus of more than 700,000 Rohingya to Bangladesh; This movement has led to a sharp increase in the Rohingya population in Bangladesh to around 885,000. . This letter examines the impact of the Rohingya issue on trade and diplomatic relations between Myanmar and Bangladesh, as well as on the security of both countries. It considers the way forward. The Rohingya crisis has shown how little the sub-region/region can do to help displaced people from one Member State to another. The situation needs to be better monitored if regional cooperation is to improve the protection of internally displaced persons and stateless persons. ASEAN needs a refugee and asylum policy that controls policy directions when a member state`s internal problems lead people to flee to neighbouring countries. Such a policy, on which all ASEAN and BIMSTEC members have agreed, would further reduce opposition to aid to the Rohingya and avoid future ethnic or religious tensions between states. Myanmar said the agreement dealt with a 1992/93 repatriation pact between the two countries, which followed a previous crisis of violence. In November 2017, U Kyaw Tint Swe, Minister of Myanmar, visited Bangladesh.
He exchanged with Mahmood Ali, Bangladesh`s foreign minister, the long-awaited “instrument of ratification” of a 1998 agreement that delineates the country north of the Naf River, which separates the two countries. On 20 December 2017, Myanmar and Bangladesh also established a joint working group to monitor the repatriation of the Rohingya. Myanmar hopes to reduce the growing international pressure due to the strike of the agreement. Pope Francis, who has spoken of sympathy for the plight of the Rohingya, will visit both countries next week. Although the two countries share a land border of 271 km, connectivity between them is limited. In July 2007, they had reached an agreement on the establishment of a direct road link, a 23 km road linking Taungbro in Bangladesh to Bawlibazar, Myanmar, to be built by the armies of both countries. “Yaba”, also known as “crazy drugs”, has become particularly popular in recent years. Agents are paid according to the size of the yaba shipments they bring back – 5,000 yaba pills transported to Dhaka or another urban center in Bangladesh can bring in 10,000 taka (about 120 $US) to the trafficker.  For the impoverished Rohingya, this is very tempting.  In addition, protection from drug traffickers facilitates the exit of many Rohingya from Myanmar, despite border security, through the Naf River that runs through both countries. Sirajul Mostofa, a city official at a Cox`s Bazaar camp, told the BBC: “We are still not sure what agreement has been signed. The meetings are a welcome step to counter the mistrust between the two countries.