For the first time ever a 122 member strong contingent of the Bangladesh Armed Forces will participate at the historic Republic Day celebrations, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War.
India and Bangladesh are celebrating fifty years of the establishment of diplomatic ties, and according to sources, the participation of such a huge contingent from a friendly neighbour in the parade is of special significance and has taken the relationship beyond a strategic partnership.
More about the contingent
Soldiers of the Bangladesh Army, sailors of Bangladesh Navy and air warriors of the Bangladesh Air Force are part of the contingent. And they are being led by contingent commander Lt Col Abu Mohammed Shahnoor Shawon and his deputies Lieutenant Farhan Ishraq and Flight Lieutenant Sibat Rahman.
The leader of the delegation Colonel Mohtashim Hyder Chowdhury, told media persons “We are here to have a better friendship.”
Who are these soldiers?
The majority of the soldiers in this contingent come from the most distinguished units of the Bangladesh Army — 1, 2, 3, 4, 8, 9, 10 & 11 East Bengal Regiment and 1, 2 and 3 Field Artillery Regiment.
More about these units participating
These units have the distinct honour of fighting and winning the 1971 Liberation War. And, the contingent from Bangladesh carries with them the legacy of legendary Muktijoddhas of Bangladesh, their fore-fathers had fought against mass atrocities by tyrannical forces, and for the liberty of Bangladesh.
Also, there are members of the Bangladesh Navy and Air force who had played a very critical role in the liberation of Bangladesh. “`Operation Jackpot’ and `Kilo’ flight of the Bangladesh Navy and Air-force respectively was the demonstration of their courage, determination and resolve to fight against oppression.”
Peek in the history
According to sources, “Our history has many stories of courage and scarifies of not only the Muktijoddhas but also the Indian soldiers for a noble and just cause. They both had fought valiantly fought side by side against the enemy and secured victory. And, in that war for Liberation of Bangladesh, the blood of Mukti Bahini and Indian soldiers mingled with the soil and water of that country. The bond between the two is like no other. It is unparalleled in the annals of history.”
The Armed Forces of Bangladesh is considered a disciplined and professional force and there are a growing number of women joining the forces to serve the country. Just like India, even Bangladesh Armed Forces has contributed to the UN peacekeeping operations across the world.
View of a senior journalist and Bangladesh commentator
Sharing his views with Financial Express Online, Gautam Lahiri says, “Presence of Bangladesh defence forces for the first time coincide with the joint celebration of 50 years of Liberation of Bangladesh. Forces of both countries laid down their lives for liberation from Pakistan. It signifies joint march of both countries for the progress and prosperity of both people.”
“It also signifies both countries comradeship in all hurdles to combat. Unique friendship of two countries is a model for all countries of the world and especially to South Asia neighbours,” Mr Lahiri opines.
When did the celebrations start?
To mark the golden jubilee of the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War, the Indian government last year in December had kicked off the celebrations.
Marking the start of the golden jubilee celebrations on December 16 — the day when Bangladesh got liberated in 1971, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had lit the ‘Swarnim Vijay Mashaal’ and this was from the eternal flame at the National War Memorial in New Delhi.