Prime Minister Narendra Modi today hailed Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s leadership and contribution of the Indian army in Bangladesh’s 1971 freedom war as he joined President Abdul Hamid and his counterpart Sheikh Hasina in celebrating the country’s 50 years of independence in Dhaka.
Recalling the 1971 war of independence, Modi said the pictures of atrocities that the Pakistan Army inflicted on the people in then East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) used to distract people in India.”I would like to remind brothers & sisters in Bangladesh with pride, being involved in the struggle for independence of Bangladesh was one of first movements of my life. I must have been 20-22 years old when I and my colleagues did Satyagraha for Bangladesh’s freedom he told the gathering.
The war in 1971 broke after the sudden crackdown at midnight past on March 25, 1971 in the erstwhile East Pakistan by the Pakistani troops and ended on December 16. The same year Pakistan conceded defeat and unconditionally surrendered in Dhaka to the allied forces comprising the freedom fighters and the Indian soldiers.
Officially three million people were killed during the nine-month long war.
Modi said both India and Bangladesh have the power of democracy and vision for the future, and it is necessary for the region the two countries progress together. “That is why Indian and Bangladeshi governments are making meaningful efforts in this direction,” he said.
“We must remember that we’ve similar opportunities in fields of trade and commerce, but at the same time, we’ve similar threats like terrorism. The ideas and powers behind such types of inhumane acts are still active. We must remain vigilant and united to counter them,” he added.
Addressing Bangladesh’s 50th Independence anniversary at the National Parade Square, Modi recalled the role played by Indian Army in the freedom war and said the blood of those who fought for their liberation and the blood of Indian soldiers are flowing together and this blood will form such a relationship that will not break down under any type of pressure.
“I salute the brave soldiers of the Indian Army who stood with the brothers and sisters of Bangladesh in Muktijuddo. Those who gave their blood in Muktijuddo, sacrificed themselves, and played a very big role in realising the dream of independent Bangladesh,” said Modi.
Modi, who was wearing a ‘Mujib Jacket’ as tribute to Bangladesh’s Father of the Nation, said that Bangabandhu’s leadership and bravery had ensured that no power could enslave Bangladesh.
“This is one of the most memorable days of my life. I am grateful that Bangladesh has included me in this event. I am grateful that Bangladesh has invited India to take part in this function. It is a matter of our pride that we got the opportunity to honour Sheikh Mujibur Rahman with Gandhi Peace Prize,” said Modi.
The Gandhi Peace Prize 2020 was conferred on Bangabandhu early this week. It was for the first time that the award was given away posthumously.
At the beginning of the programme, Modi handed over the Gandhi Peace Prize to Bangabandhu’s daughters – Prime Minister Hasina and her sister Sheikh Rehana.
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