New Delhi: – Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina expressed gratitude towards India saying ‘Three million people attained martyrdom for the freedom of Bangladesh. This also includes the martyred Indian soldiers. India is a friend of Bangladesh in the true sense of the word.’ India won the 1971 war defeating Pakistan and Bangladesh came into existence. This event has completed 49 years; Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina participated in the virtual function organised to commemorate the occasion. While thanking India during the function, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina asserted that her country would not tolerate religious extremism.
Prime Minister Modi congratulated Bangladesh on the occasion of the 49th Foundation Day. Prime Minister Modi said that Bangladesh is the main pillar of prioritising cooperation with the neighbouring countries. He said he was feeling very proud to celebrate the victory of the Indian forces, in collaboration with the Bangladeshi Mukti Vahini. The Prime Minister also clarified that strengthening of relations with Bangladesh has been a priority from the day he took over as the Prime Minister. Meanwhile, seven memorandums of Understanding were signed during this virtual meeting.
These include the decision to re-start the Chilahati-Haldibari railway line, closed since the 1965 India-Pakistan war. Confidence is being expressed that the connectivity between Bangladesh and Indian states of Assam and West Bengal will improve further with this. Prime Minister Modi and Prime Minister Hasina made a resolve to find an amicable solution to the issue of distribution of waters in the rivers flowing across both countries. At the same time, the process of laying fences on the borders has been started in both the countries and both the leaders concurred on expediting the process.
While speaking on this occasion, Prime Minister Hasina proudly mentioned the contribution of the Indian population and military in creation of Bangladesh and expressed gratitude for it. She also recounted that Indian Major Ashok Tara had secured release of her family from the clutches of the Pakistan military. The powers defeated in the 1971 war are even today trying to mislead the Bangladesh population. Prime Minister Hasina appealed that the people should be cautious about these matters. Sheikh Hasina reminded that Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and Christians, all have shed their blood for independence of Bangladesh. Sheikh Hasina asserted that Bangladesh is a religious country, but there is no place for religious extremism in Bangladesh.
Pakistan feels that Bangladesh is drifting away from India given the disputes like distribution of the water in Teesta river, the problem of the Rohingya refugees and border disputes. A few analysts from the hate India brigade in Pakistan are advising their government to take advantage of this situation to improve relations with Bangladesh. But a few days ago, Sheikh Hasina delivered a slap across Pakistan’s face saying that Bangladesh will never forget the Pakistani torture and atrocities during the 1971 war.
While the Indian relations with China are strained, China is vying to use Bangladesh against India. Bangladesh government, who has taken advantage of the competition between India and China on trade and other fronts, for furthering its interests, refused to take a stand against India. Therefore, the improving India-Bangladesh ties, at a time, when tension is reigning in the India and China relations, become important.