As New Delhi and Dhaka celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 1971 Liberation War, a 122-member tri-Service contingent of Bangladesh marched on Rajpath at the Republic Day parade. It had soldiers drawn from the units of that year.
“The majority of the soldiers in this contingent hail from the most distinguished units of the Bangladesh Army comprising 1, 2, 3, 4, 8, 9, 10 and 11 East Bengal Regiment and 1, 2 and 3 Field Artillery Regiment. These units have the distinct honour of fighting and winning the Liberation War,” an official said.
The contingent, led by Lt. Col. Abu Mohammed Shahnoor Shawon and his deputies, Lieutenant Farhan Ishraq and Flight Lieutenant Sibat Rahman, carried with it the legacy of legendary Muktijoddhas of Bangladesh, their forefathers who fought against oppression, mass atrocities by tyrannical forces and for the freedom of Bangladesh, the official stated.
The Bangladesh Navy had successfully conducted “Operation Jackpot” during the war, destroying 26 enemy ships in sea ports and river ports. The Bangladesh Air Force conducted 50 successful strikes on the enemy targets as part of “Kilo Flight” from the base in Dimapur, India.
The contingent arrived in Delhi in an Indian Air Force (IAF) aircraft on January 12 and was quarantined till January 19, after which they began practising for the parade. The contingent is scheduled to visit places of historical significance in Agra and Ajmer on January 28 and 29 before their departure on January 30
Coinciding with the diamond jubilee of the 1971 war and also 50 years of the establishment of ties, New Delhi and Dhaka have agreed to hold a series of commemorative events throughout the year. It is these fraternal ties between the two countries that make the relations transcend even a strategic partnership.
As a decorated veteran, many off whose colleagues’ blood are mixed with the soil and waters of Bangladesh, seeing a contingent of an independent Bangladesh Army marching down Rajpath was a very emotional and evocative moment for Maj. Chandrakant Singh, VrC and author of Cavalier in the Sky ( biography of war icon Air Vice Marshal Chandan Singh).
“For me to see the Bangladesh Army leading our Republic Day parade on Rajpath was a heart-warming experience, because 50 years ago, my battalion, 4 Guards, paraded before ‘Bangabandhu’ Shiekh Mujibur Rahman on March 12, 1972 to commemorate the return to Indians after the successful completion of our mission,” Maj. Singh said.
In 2017, when Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina honoured Indian soldiers who took part in the war during her visit to India, Maj. Singh said, he presented a photograph of ‘Bangabandhu’ taking the salute of their unit’s parade in Dhaka in 1972 and the parade programme, which he had personally signed, to her. Maj. Singh recalled that on seeing the programme, Ms. Hasina agreed to put her signature on it. “While doing this, she turned very sentimental and remarked that this is the document which has both her father’s and her signature,” Maj. Singh stated.
At the parade, the Indian Navy’s tableau depicted its attack with missile boats on the Karachi harbour on the night of December 4-5, 1971.