India is our true friend,” the country’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, thanking India for its support during 1971 Bangladesh liberation war. Ms Hasina was addressing a virtual summit with Prime Minister Narendra Modi a day after the 50th anniversary of India’s win over Pakistan in the 1971 war that lead to the birth of Bangladesh as an independent nation.
“India is our true friend,” Ms Hasina said. “I pay deep homage to the three million martyrs who laid down their lives. I pay tribute to the members of the Indian armed forces martyred in the war and to their families. I pay my gratitude to the government and the people of India who extended their whole hearted support for the cause of our nation,” she said.
PM Modi said Bangladesh is a “key pillar” of India’s ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy.
“We feel proud to celebrate “Bijoy Dibosh” with you to mark Bangladesh’s victory over anti-liberation forces,” PM Modi said.
He also thanked his Bangladeshi counterpart for inviting him for a visit to the neighbouring nation next year where he said that “it would be an honour” to pay tribute “to the martyrs”.
“It has been key priority for me to strengthen ties with Bangladesh,” he said.
India and Bangladesh signed seven agreements in areas of hydrocarbons, agriculture, textiles and community development.
After facing defeat in the 1971 war, the then Army Chief of Pakistan General Amir Abdullah Khan Niazi, along with his 93,000 troops, surrendered to allied forces, which also comprised Indian Army personnel.
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh paid rich tributes to the 1971 war heroes. PM Modi lit a “Swarnim Vijay Mashaal” – a victory torch – at the eternal flame of the National War Memorial in Delhi.