Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said joint advancement of India and Bangladesh is urgent for the development of South Asia region.
“Democratic forces are in power in our both countries and we have clear foresight to go ahead. Joint advancement of India and Bangladesh is equally urgent for the development of the whole region,” he said.
The Indian premier said this while addressing a function at the National Parade Ground here on the final day of the 10-day special program marking the birth centenary of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the golden jubilee of Bangladesh’s independence.
Chaired by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the function was also addressed by President M Abdul Hamid and Chief Coordinator of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s Birth Centenary Celebration National Implementation Committee Dr Kamal Abdul Naser Chowdhury.
Speaking as the guest of honor, Modi said the governments of India and Bangladesh have realised the sensitivity of joint advancement and would continue meaningful efforts to this end.
“We’ve proved that all problems could be resolved through mutual trust and cooperation. Our land boundary agreement is an example of this,” he said.
The Indian premier said even the two countries are maintaining good relations during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“We extended cooperation to formation of the SAARC COVID-19 Fund and provided support for training up our human resources. India is very delighted that the vaccines, produced by India, are useful for the Bangladeshi brothers and sisters,” he said.
Recalling the 50 years of India-Bangladesh relations, Modi said he is very happy to be an important part of the journey of Bangladesh’s advancement.
The birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman strengthened the relations of the two friendly countries, he said, adding that over 130 crore people of India convoyed greetings to Bangladesh on this occasion.
Paying glowing tribute to Bangabandhu, the Indian prime minister said the legendary leader sacrificed his life for ‘Sonar Bangla’ and “it was a matter of pride for us (India) that we had the opportunity to honour Sheikh Mujibur Rahman with Gandhi Peace Award”.
Recalling the martyrs, who sacrificed their lives during the 1971 Liberation War, he said: “When I was 22-23 years old, I , along with many of my fellows, joined Satyagraha (nonviolent resistance) in favour of Bangladesh’s independence.”
Mentioning that the then autocratic government of Pakistan continued massacre on its own people in 1971, Modi said the world was not vocal over the atrocity of “Operation Searchlight” carried out by the Pakistan military.
Despite that, he said, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman emerged here as a ray of hope for the Bangalees and Indians. “The courage of Bangabandhu and his leadership ensured that no power could halt Bangladesh,” he added.
The Indain premier said people from all walks of life, including general people, farmers, teachers, youths, and workers, together formed the “Liberation Force” under the leadership of Bangabandhu.
“That’s why today is the ideal day to recall the Bangabandhu’s dream, his ideology and his courage,” he said.
He said Bangabandhu first visited India immediately after getting released from Pakistan jail and many people of India still remember the words of the speech Bangabandhu delivered in Delhi.
Modi said Bangabandhu was concerned about Bangladesh’s independence and the sacrifice of the people of both Bangladesh and India, and his eyes were filled with tears.
The tears of Bangabandhu were a symbol of the India-Bangladesh relations, he said.
“We are partners of heritage. We are partners of development too. We share our goals and we share our challenges too. We have to remember that we have potential in trade and industry but we also have threats like terrorism,” said the Indian premier.
He stressed the need for staying alert about these threats and getting organised to address those together.