Marking 50 years of the 1971 India-Pakistan war that led to the liberation of Bangladesh, a 122-member contingent of the Bangladesh Armed Forces participated in the Republic Day parade on Tuesday.
Led by Lt Col Abu Mohammed Shahnoor Shawon and his deputies Lieutenant Farhan Ishraq and Flight Lieutenant Sibat Rahman, the contingent had personnel of the Bangladesh Army, Navy and Air Force. The Bangladesh military band, which marched with the contingent, played a popular patriotic song from 1971, “Shono ekti Mujiborer theke/Lokkho Mujiborer (A Million Mujiburs Marking 50 years of 1971 war, Bangla team part of R-Day event singing)”, hailing Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Bangladesh’s first president and Father of the Nation.
Officials said most of the soldiers in the contingent that marched on Rajpath are from the most distinguished units of the Bangladesh Army’s East Bengal and Field Artillery regiments. These units have the distinction of fighting and winning the 1971 Liberation War, an official said.
“This Bangladesh contingent carries with them the legacy of the legendary Muktijoddhas of Bangladesh, their fore-fathers who fought against oppression, mass atrocities by tyrannical forces and for the freedom of Bangladesh. The contingent also has members of the Bangladesh Navy and Air Force who contributed to the liberation of Bangladesh,” the official said.
The Bangladesh military contingent was flown in an Indian Air Force aircraft for the Republic Day parade in New Delhi. The visiting contingent had to spend the first week in quarantine due to the pandemic before it began rehearsals for the parade.
This is the third time the Republic Day parade in India has witnessed the participation of a military contingent from abroad — French troops marched in 2016 and UAE troops in 2017.
This year, as India and Bangladesh celebrate 50 years of the establishment of their ties, both sides have agreed to hold commemorative events in several other countries and also jointly organise events throughout the year.
Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday extended greetings to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the occasion of India’s 72nd Republic Day. “The special ties of friendship, cooperation and trust between our two countries are flourishing from strength to strength. New frontiers of bilateral cooperation alongside traditional areas of engagement are being opened, even during the difficult times created by the pandemic,” she wrote in a letter.
Modi has been invited to Bangladesh for celebrations in March this year, and is likely to travel to Dhaka for the events. He was invited last year in March as well, but had to cancel due to the Covid-19 pandemic.