New Delhi: In a significant break from protocol, the Indian Defense minister Rajnath Singh on Monday (November 22) visited the Bangladesh high commission in Delhi on the occasion of the Armed Forces Day of Bangladesh. He was accompanied by CDS Bipin Rawat,  Indian army chief Gen MM Naravane,  Air Chief Marshal Vivek Ram Chaudhari and  Navy Chief Admiral Karambir Singh.

The day is observed every 21st November and it was on this day in 1971 that the Battle of Garibpur began which saw Indian forces and Bangladeshi liberation forces coming together against the Pakistani forces.

Paying tributes to the “sacrifices made by the brave soldiers of the Indian Armed Forces, who stood steadfast with their Bangladeshi brothers and sisters”, Defence minister Rajnath Singh 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.”

This year marks 50 years since Bangladesh’s war of liberation or the India Pak war that resulted in the emergence of the modern state of Bangladesh. The year is being celebrated both in India and Bangladesh with a number of celebrations, and as part of 50 year of Independence of the latter, Indian PM Modi visited the country in March of this year.

The defence minister highlighted that “Indian Armed Forces and paramilitary forces worked together with the courageous Muktijoddhas in their valiant struggle. In the course of the conflict, more than 1650 brave Indian soldiers made the supreme sacrifice”.

Defence cooperation between both India and Bangladesh has increased with New Delhi extending USD 500 million Defence Line of Credit to further consolidate ties.

All three Service Chiefs of Bangladesh have visited India this year and from India, the Chiefs of Army and Air Force visited Bangladesh this year. Indian army chief Gen MM Naravane visit the country in April, the then Indian air force chief Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria visited in June, while from Bangladesh side Gen SM Shafiuddin Ahmed, Chief of Army Staff, Bangladesh Army visit to India in September and Admiral M Shaheen Iqbal Chief of Naval Staff, Bangladesh Navy in October this year.

“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”, Rajnath Singh pointed.  

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.

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