Kolkata (West Bengal), [India], Dec 16 (ANI): In a first, Bangladesh Minister of Liberation War Affairs A K M Mozammel Haque posthumously awarded 12 slain Indian soldiers with 'Sammanana' plaques for the resolute spirit displayed while fighting Pakistan in the Bangladesh liberation war of 1971.
Haque paid tribute to soldiers on the occasion of Vijay Diwas at the Headquarters of the Eastern Command at the Fort William in Kolkata, where special programmes were held as a mark of respect of the Indian soldiers.
Remembering the sacrifices of Indian personnel, Haque said: "The Indian Army soldiers were not supposed to sacrifice their lives for us. But they were courteous enough to fight for our freedom. At the time of war, the government of India assisted us with everything, including shelter for 10 million refugees, food and arms."
Elaborating about the initiatives taken by the Bangladesh government to honour the bravehearts, Haque stated, "Our government has planned to set a war memorial in Bangladesh to pay a tribute to over 1,600 Indian Armed Forces personnel who laid down their lives in the eastern theatre during the 1971 Indo-Pak War. We will lay the foundation stone for the same next year on our country's independence day i.e March 26."
It is for the first time that Bangladesh government is facilitating Indian soldiers on their native soil.
Vijay Diwas is celebrated every year on this date to mark India's triumph in liberating Bangladesh from Pakistan.
After facing defeat in the 1971 war, the then Army Chief of Pakistan General Amir Abdullah Khan Niazi, along with his 93,000 troops, surrendered to allied forces which also comprised of Indian Army personnel.
Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to Twitter to praise the brave soldiers for their unwavering courage and patriotism shown in the 1971 liberation war. "Today on Vijay Diwas, we remember the indomitable spirit of the brave soldiers who fought in 1971. Their unwavering courage and patriotism ensured our country is safe. Their service will always inspire every Indian," the tweet read.
Meanwhile, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman paid reverence to the soldiers on Sunday at the Amar Jawan Jyoti in the national capital. (ANI)