New Delhi : Bangladesh Friday paid tribute to the Indian soldiers who fought “shoulder-to-shoulder” with the liberation forces in 1971 and thanked New Delhi for support supporting “a just war” that led to the creation of the nation.
“It’s a victory day for both India and Pakistan,” Bangladesh High Commissioner to India Tariq A. Karim said at a function to mark the 40th anniversary of the liberation of then East Pakistan that led to the birth of Bangladesh.
“Without India’s help, the independence would not have been quicker. The bloodshed would have been far bigger and the cost to the international community would have been bigger,” said the envoy.
Describing the 1971 war India fought against Pakistan in the course of the liberation struggle in then East Pakistan as a “just war,” the Bangladeshi envoy paid rich tributes to “brave gallant soldiers of India who fought side by side with liberation forces, Mukti Vahini.”
Looking ahead, the envoy said the liberation struggle of Bangladesh continued and “would not end till we lift our country from the morass of poverty.”
The Bangladesh high commission also organized a screening of the much-acclaimed film “Guerrillas”, which vividly evoked the atrocities committed by Pakistani armed forces against ordinary Bangladeshis to crush their independence struggle and the valiant unsung role of women in the blood-splattered war of liberation. Based on Syed Shamsul Haq’s novel “Nishiddho Loban,” the film has won many international accolades.
With around 10 million displaced Bangladeshis taking refuge in India to escape the brutalities inflicted by Pakistan’s Army in 1971, the then prime minister Indira Gandhi decided to intervene, supported the liberation forces by training Mukti Bahini and fought a war with Pakistan, leading eventually to the surrender of Pakistani forces on Dec 16, 1971.
The victory in the 1971 war is celebrated as Vijay Diwas in India.
In a rare feat in modern military history, 93,000 Pakistani soldiers were taken Prisoners of War Dec 16, 1971 after Lt. Gen. A.A.K. Niazi, commander of the Pakistani forces in East Pakistan, signed surrender before Lieutenant General Jagjit Singh Aurora, then general officer commanding-in-chief (GOC-in-C) of the Eastern Command of the Indian Army, marking the end of the subcontinent’s most decisive war.