Inaugurating the ‘Wall of Fame’ to commemorate the heroes of the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War at New Delhi’s India Gate, Union defence minister Rajnath Singh said on Sunday that India has contributed to the establishment of democracy in Bangladesh and in the last 50 years, the neighbouring country has progressed on the path of development.
Singh also inaugurated a two-day ceremony, Swarnim Vijay Parv, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of India’s victory against Pakistan in the 1971 war, that also saw the birth of Bangladesh as a nation.
“India has contributed to the establishment of democracy in Bangladesh and today we are very happy that in the last 50 years Bangladesh has progressed rapidly on the path of development, which is an inspiration for the rest of the world,” Singh was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
“On this day, I bow to the bravery, valour and sacrifice of every soldier of the Indian Army, due to which India won the 1971 war. This country will always be indebted to the sacrifice of all those bravehearts,” Singh said while paying tributes to Indian soldiers and the bravehearts of the Mukti Bahini who fought valiantly for the liberation of Bangladesh.
Taking a dig at Pakistan on the ocassion, Singh said, “Pakistan wants to promote terrorism in India. The Armed Forces foiled Pakistan’s plans in 1971 and now we are working towards eliminating terrorism from the root.”
“Sometimes I wonder, what was the fault of our Bengali sisters and brothers? For demanding their rights? Seeking to preserve their art, culture and language? For talking about his proper representation in politics and governance?” Singh was quoted as speaking at the gathering.
“The injustice and atrocities on our Bengali sisters and brothers were a threat to the entire humanity in one form or the other. In such a situation, it was our Rajdharm, Rashtradharm and military religion that helped in liberating the people of then ‘East Pakistan’ from that injustice and exploitation,” the defence minister outlined.
He said the 1971 war is a “classic example” of India’s morals, democratic traditions and just treatment. “It will be rarely seen in history that after defeating another country in a war, a country like ours did not express its dominance over it, but handed over the power to its political representative.”
Condoling the death of India’s Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, his wife, and 11 military personnel in a chopper crash last week, the defence minister said the government has decided to mark the event with simplicity.
“It was decided to organise this event in a grand form, but after passing away of Gen Bipin Rawat, his wife and 11 other Armed Forces personnel, we’ve decided to celebrate ‘Swarnim Vijay Parv’ with simplicity. IAF’s Group Captain Varun Singh is under treatment at Command Hospital Bengaluru. We pray for his early recovery,” Singh said.
Weapons and equipment used during the 1971 war have been displayed along with the snippets of major battles at the two-day ‘Swarnim Vijay Parv’ being celebrated at India Gate to commemorate 50 years of India’s historic victory in the 1971 war and the Indo-Bangladesh friendship.
The closing ceremony will be held on December 13 which will be attended by Singh, apart from many dignitaries, including from Bangladesh.