Defence minister Rajnath Singh with Bangladeshi high commissioner Muhammad Imran (to his right) in New Delhi Photograph:( WION )
Defence minister Rajnath Singh was accompanied by Chief of Defence Staff Bipin Rawat, Indian Army chief General MM Naravane, Air Chief Marshal Vivek Ram Chaudhari and Navy Chief Admiral Karambir Singh
In a significant break from protocol, Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday visited the Bangladesh high commission in Delhi on the occasion of the Armed Forces Day of Bangladesh.
He was accompanied by Chief of Defence Staff Bipin Rawat, Indian Army chief General MM Naravane, Air Chief Marshal Vivek Ram Chaudhari and Navy Chief Admiral Karambir Singh.
Bangladesh’s Armed Forces Day is observed every November 21. It was on this day in 1971 that the Battle of Garibpur began, in which Indian and Bangladeshi liberation forces came together against the Pakistani forces.
This year marks 50th anniversary of Bangladesh’s war of liberation that resulted in the emergence of the modern state of Bangladesh. The year is being celebrated both in India and Bangladesh.
Paying tributes to the “sacrifices made by the brave soldiers of the Indian Armed Forces, who stood steadfast with their Bangladeshi brothers and sisters”, the defence minister said, "The extraordinary leadership in India rose to the occasion against all odds and limitations in 1971, in support of a struggling nation fighting against the injustice and unspeakable atrocities perpetrated by the Pakistani Army."
The defence minister highlighted that “Indian Armed Forces and paramilitary forces worked together with the courageous Muktijoddhas (the fighters of the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War) in their valiant struggle. In the course of the conflict, more than 1,650 brave Indian soldiers made the supreme sacrifice".
“I am glad that the cooperation between the Armed Forces of both countries is steadily progressing, by way of several activities - defence dialogue, staff talks, joint training, exercise and high-level exchanges. Defence cooperation between India and Bangladesh has increased with New Delhi extending USD 500 million Defence Line of Credit to further consolidate ties,” Singh said.
A tri-service contingent from Bangladesh Armed Forces participated at the Republic Day Parade in New Delhi this year. Similarly, a marching tri-service contingent of 122 members from India is expected to participate at the Victory Day Parade in Dhaka on 16 December 2021.
Earlier in March this year, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Dhaka to mark the 50 years of Bangladesh’s Independence.