The Indian Coast Guard found 81 survivors and eight dead in a boat full of Rohingya refugees drifting in the Andaman Sea, an official from India's foreign ministry said on Friday, adding that survivors would not be allowed into Indian territory.
Foreign ministry spokesman Anurag Srivastava said Thursday that another refugee who reported the rescue was missing.
The United Nations refugee agency was alarmed earlier this week over the missing boat, which set off from Cox's Bazar in Bangladesh on February 11 and set up refugee camps for hundreds of thousands of Rohingya fleeing neighboring Myanmar.
After spending four days at sea, the boat's engine failed and those on board ran out of food and water, Srivastava said. Many were ill when they were rescued and suffered from extreme dehydration.
Two Indian Coast Guard vessels have been sent to help 23 child refugees and the Indian government is in talks with Bangladesh to ensure their safe return.
India is not a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention, which describes refugee rights and state responsibilities to protect them. It has no domestic law to protect the more than 200,000 refugees it currently shelters, including Rohingyas from Myanmar.
Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh following a deadly crackdown by security forces in Myanmar in 2017.
"Bangladesh respects its international obligations under the BMDHS (United Nations Convention on the law of the Sea)," Bangladesh's foreign ministry said in a statement.