Friday June 14, 2024 10:44 am

Cross-Border Camaraderie:

WAR Veterans Mutual Visits to Foster Peace and Progress in Bangladesh and India

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🕐 2023-12-31 13:09:45

WAR Veterans Mutual Visits to Foster Peace and Progress in Bangladesh and India

Rabb Majumder


The relationship between Bangladesh and India in the context of the 1971 Liberation War is a significant chapter in the history of both countries. The 1971 Liberation War was a major turning point for Bangladesh, then known as East Pakistan, as it sought to break free from the political and economic domination of West Pakistan (present-day Pakistan).
In 1971, the people of East Pakistan, led by the Awami League under the leadership of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, sought greater autonomy and recognition of their cultural and linguistic rights. However, the ruling establishment in West Pakistan, led by General Yahya Khan, was unwilling to address these demands. This led to widespread civil unrest and eventually escalated into a full-scale armed conflict.
During this tumultuous period, India played a crucial role in supporting the cause of Bangladeshi independence. The Indian government, led by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, provided refuge to millions of Bangladeshi refugees who fled the conflict and sought shelter in India. India also extended diplomatic and military support to the Mukti Bahini, the Bengali freedom fighters who were engaged in a guerilla war against the Pakistani military.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina exchanging views with the war veterans. 

The Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, which was a direct result of the Bangladesh Liberation War, saw India actively engaging in conflict with Pakistan. The Indian military, in conjunction with the Mukti Bahini, played a pivotal role in securing the independence of Bangladesh. The decisive victory of India and the Mukti Bahini led to the surrender of Pakistani forces in Dhaka on December 16, 1971, and the subsequent emergence of Bangladesh as an independent nation.
The role of India in the 1971 Liberation War has left a lasting impact on the relationship between Bangladesh and India. Bangladesh views India as a key ally and a supporter of its struggle for independence, and this sentiment has contributed to a generally positive and friendly relationship between the two countries. Over the years, both nations have deepened their ties through various bilateral agreements, trade partnerships, and cultural exchanges.
However, it's important to note that there have been occasional challenges in the relationship, particularly related to issues such as border disputes, water sharing of common rivers, and trade imbalances. Both countries continue to work towards resolving these issues through dialogue and diplomatic channels.
In summary, the 1971 Liberation War was a defining moment in the relationship between Bangladesh and India. India's support for Bangladesh's independence has laid the foundation for a strong bond between the two nations, even as they navigate the complexities of their bilateral ties in the years that have followed.

On the occasion of 52nd anniversary of liberation war this year, 30 brave Muktijoddhas and six active officers of the Bangladesh Armed Forces took part in Vijay Diwas celebrations in Kolkata to commemorate the 52nd anniversary of the Liberation War.  In a similar vein, Bangladesh's Victory Day ceremony included 30 Indian War Veterans and six active Indian Armed Forces officials.
The courageous Muktijoddhas met with top officers from the Indian Army, Navy, and Air Force as well as Indian War Veterans during their tour. These individuals were instrumental in preparing the Muktijoddhas and fighting side by side with them in their fight for freedom. Similarly, Indian War Veterans laid a wreath at the altar of Shikha Anirban in Dhaka Cantonment as a mark of respect for the members of the Bangladesh Armed Forces who gave their lives during Bangladesh's Liberation War in 1971. Muktijoddhas and senior officers from the Bangladesh Army, Navy, and Air Force had met with the Indian delegation.
These bilateral visits give Indian and Bangladeshi military heroes a chance to connect, exchange stories, and remember those who gave their lives in the Liberation military. This visitation exchange between Bangladesh and India not only demonstrates the two countries' lasting spirit of cooperation and solidarity, but it also promotes the friendship and camaraderie between them.
The Muktijoddhas' involvement in Vijay Diwas celebrations in India and the Indian War Veterans' participation in Victory Day celebrations in Bangladesh signify the two nations' longstanding historical links and mutual respect. It restates the common ideals of liberty, democracy, and self-determination that serve as the foundation for Bangladesh's and India's long relationship.
These reciprocal visits also act as a reminder of the steadfast commitment to upholding the values of justice and liberty as well as the innumerable sacrifices made by people throughout the battle for independence. Along with honoring their common past, the exchanges and experiences between the war veterans of both nations encourage future generations to value and protect the hard-won freedom that came about as a result of their sacrifices.

The presence of Indian War Veterans in Dhaka and Muktijoddhas in Kolkata on this 52nd anniversary of the Liberation War serves as a moving memorial to the unwavering bravery and tenacity of those who fought for Bangladesh's freedom. Their existence is a living proof of the Liberation War's lasting effects and the unbreakable ties that bind the people of Bangladesh and India.
These yearly exchanges show how dedicated both countries are to remembering their heroes' sacrifices and fostering closer ties of friendship and collaboration between Bangladesh and India. As we commemorate Victory Day, let us remember and pay tribute to the courage and selflessness of those who battled for Bangladesh's independence and keep up the ideals of harmony, peace, and solidarity that unite our countries.
May the cooperative and respectful spirit flourish in the future, bringing about peace, prosperity, and shared prosperity for the people of India and Bangladesh.

Welfare Initiatives by India and Bangladesh Govt
1. NutanIndia-Bangladesh Maitree Muktijoddha Sontan Scholarship Scheme. The scheme started in 2006. Under this scheme, wards of Muktijodhhas at Higher Secondary and undergraduate level are awarded financial assistance in terms of scholarship by Gol. Till date, a total of 22,128 students have been benefitted from the scheme wherein Gol has expended an amount of BDT 57.08 crore.
2. Muktijoddha Medical Scheme. 100 Muktijoddha patients are being given treatment in Indian Armed Forces hospitals every year. This activity commenced wef FY 2018-19. Since 2018-19, 190 Muktijoddhas patients got medical treatment in India. In addition to above, 173 Bangladesh Armed Forces personnel also treated in Indian Armed Forces hospitals since FY 2018-19.
3. Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Student Scholarship for Families of Indian Soldiers/Officers. 200 students awarded by the Govt of Bangladesh to the descendants of soldiers & officers of the Armed Forces of India who were Battle Casualty (Fatal)/wounded in 1971 War in the Eastern Theatre.