Expressing her gratitude to the war veterans of India and Russia who fought for liberating Bangladesh in 1971 and contributed to removing mines from Chittagong port and its adjacent areas, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Monday said the people of Bangladesh will never forget their immense sacrifice and contributions.
“We always remember your contributions. We liberated the country under the leadership of our great leader Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and you gave an all-out support. You yourself fought for our liberation, which we’ll never forget. It’s your country and you’re always welcome here,” she said.
The Prime Minister was addressing a reception she hosted to the visiting war veterans of India and Russiaat the green lawn of PM’s official residence Ganobhaban in the afternoon.
A total of 27 war veterans, their spouses and children, four serving military officials, six embassy staff of India and four war veterans and their spouses and three embassy staff of Russia joined the reception. Lieutenant General Jai Bhawan Singh Yadava led the delegation of the war veterans.
The Prime Minister said the people and governments of India and Russia, particularly then Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, extended all-out support to the freedom-loving people of Bangladesh.
She said the government feels honoured as the war veterans accepted the invitation to visit Bangladesh and attended the Victory Day function in Dhaka this year.
Recalling the memories of 1971, Jai Bhawan Singh Yadava said, “You (Sheikh Hasina) had to go through a lot of trauma and brutalities for nine months. But the Mukti brothers with the bravery made a platform and created an environment so that we could come to your assistance and also help in the War for Liberation.”
“The relationship between Bangladesh and India is cemented with blood and sweat. I’m sure the very strong structure of the relationship will create an everlasting friendship between us,” he said.
Describing the memorable experience over the last four days in Dhaka, Jai Bhagwan said they witnessed so much progress and development of the defence forces.
He noted that the security and safety of not only Bangladesh but also the entire South Asia is in safe hands.
Highly appreciating the dynamic leadership of Sheikh Hasina, the Indian General said they witnessed tremendous progress and stability of Bangladesh, and all this has been possible because of the inspiring leadership of the Prime Minister.
Recalling the wartime history from March 1971, the delegation leader said Bangladesh went through a lot of pains and repression for nine months during the War of Liberation.
General Bhagwan hoped that under the leadership of Sheikh Hasina, the friendship between India and Bangladesh will flourish and it will be possible to defeat all the negative and destabilising forces.
On the occasion, leader of Russian team Commodore GS Salkar of Russian Navy Pacific Fleet said they closely followed the great struggle for independence in 1971, and were sincerely supporting the fight against injustice and oppression against the people of Bangladesh.
After receiving the order, they joined the special task force which was sent by the then Soviet government for demining the Chittagong port and the adjacent areas of the Bay of Bengal and the Karnaphulichannel near Sandwip.
On behalf of the government of Russia and its people, he expressed sincere gratitude to the government of Bangladesh for inviting them to Bangladesh and said they would bring all the best memories back to their motherland.
Returning to his city in Vladivostok, Commodore Salkar said, he will inform the people of his country as well as mass media about the great success and achievements of Bangladeshi people in building their sovereign state.
Earlier, arriving at the venue, the Prime Minister exchanged pleasantries with the guests and enquired about their wellbeing.
Prime Minister’s nephew Radwan Mujib Siddiq, Liberation War Affairs Minister AKM Mozammel Huq, Former State Minister AB Tajull Islam, MP, and MahjabinKhaled, MP, were present on the occasion.
Lt Gen Bhagwan presented some books, crests and rare pictures of Bangabandhu to the Prime Minister.
The Prime Minister exchanged greetings with the guests and extended her thanks to the war veterans of India and Russia for coming to Bangladesh.