In a gesture that is likely to have wide ramifications in both India and Bangladesh as well as in other parts of South Asia, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will honour 1661 Indian soldiers posthumously who had fought in Bangladesh’s Liberation War in 1971.
Hasina will be on a much-awaited bilateral visit in India from April 7 to 10.
At a function in Delhi during her visit, Hasina will personally hand over the Bangladesh Liberation War Honour award to family members of 60 Indian soldiers who had died during the liberation war. Her host and Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi will also be present at the function.
The decision to honour the Indian soliders is significant as it is not only an acknowledgement of India’s role during Bangladesh’s Liberation War before the Indian people. But more importantly, it is a reminder of India’s contribution to large number of people in her country. Bangladesh, like many other countries in South Asia have a huge youth bulge and more than 60 per cent of its population were born after Bangladesh was created from East Pakistan. The details of the war and various players who were involved in it, are not very well known to them.
Despite the role India had played in Bangladesh’s Liberation Struggle, many of people in Bangladesh are not aware of its contribution to that important phase in the country’s history. The public honouring of the Indian soldiers by Hasina not only will make it clear to the Indian leadership and its people about her acknowledgement of their sacrifice. It will also be a signal for Pakistan, a country with which her bilateral relations are under considerable strain especially after Bangladesh tried and hanged several leaders of the pro-Pakistani Jamaat-e-Islami for “war crimes” during the Liberation Movement.
Nearly 33 agreements and Memorandum of Understanding are scheduled to be signed during her visit between the two sides ranging from setting up of border haats to enhancing cooperation in ITC, civil nuclear energy, defence, commerce, health and power and energy sector.
A business Summit will also be held with participation from leading businessmen and industrialists of the two countries to find and ways to deepen and strengthen investment and business cooperation between the two sides.