Bangladesh to felicitate Indian defence officers
New Delhi, March 26 (IANS) Four decades after Bangladesh came into being, Dhaka will formally recognise the role played by Indian armed forces during the 1971 war, popularly called the Bangladesh Liberation War.
At a function in Dhaka Tuesday, Bangladesh President Mohammed Zillur Rahman will confer an award on the Indian Defence Minister A.K. Antony on behalf of the Indian armed forces in the presence of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
The award will be received by Minister of State for Defence M.M. Pallam Raju at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in Dhaka, an Indian defence ministry release said here Monday.
The award consists of a gold-plated silver metallic plaque bearing a replica of the national mausoleum and a citation on a silk cloth.
It is a formal recognition by the Bangladesh government of the sacrifice made by about 1,400 Indian armed forces personnel during Bangladesh's nine-month-long liberation war in 1971.
The award was recommended by a national committee constituted by the Bangladesh government, under Foreign Minister Dipu Moni and consisting of State Minister for Liberation War Affairs M. Tajul Islam, to honour the foreign friends who had assisted Bangladesh in its liberation war.
Indian Army and Bangladeshi Forces were put under a joint command structure led by Lt. Gen. Jagjit Singh Aurora, and this force came to be known as the 'Mitra Bahini', says the committee's note.
It adds that this alliance of the Indian Army and Bangladesh Forces engaged the Pakistani forces in December 1971 and was instrumental in the defeat of the Pakistan Army, which surrendered Dec 16, 1971, a few days after the formal declaration of war.
Pallam Raju, who is on two-day visit to Dhaka, also represented India at the Bangladesh Independence and National Day celebrations in the capital Monday.
It was on this day in 1971 that Bangladeshi leader Mujibur Rahman, also known as the father of the Bangladeshi nation, declared independence.
The Bangladesh government is conferring awards on 110 foreign nationals and organisations for their contribution to the country's liberation war, including Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar.
In the first phase, United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi had received the Bangladesh Freedom Honour awarded to her mother-in-law and late Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi at a function in Dhaka July 25 last year.
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