Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said Bangladesh has proven all of them wrong who had objected to its creation, looked down upon the people and had apprehensions about the existence of the country.
“I am pleased that under Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s able leadership, Bangladesh is showing its dynamism to the world,” he said.
Modi said the world did not talk as much about the cruelty, oppression and atrocities of ‘Operation Searchlight’ as it should have.
He was addressing the special programme marking the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and 50 years of Bangladesh’s independence.
President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, her sister Sheikh Rehana, Liberation War Affairs Minister AKM Mozammel Haque, Agriculture Minister Dr Mohammad Abdur Razzaque, among others, were present.
The Indian Prime Minister was pleased that many Indian soldiers who were part of the Liberation War were also there with them at the special event.
“The struggle for the Liberation of Bangladesh was also one of the first movements that I took part in," Modi said, adding: “I must have been 22 or 23 years old, when along with many of my friends, I did satyagraha, (a form of passive resistance), for the liberation of the people of Bangladesh.”
As part of his efforts to support the liberation of Bangladesh, he also courted arrest and had a taste of life in prison.
“That is to say, there was as much of a longing for Bangladesh’s freedom in India, as there was in Bangladesh," Modi said.
The images of the heinous crimes and atrocities committed by the Pakistani army here, made their blood boil too, and gave them countless sleepless nights!
Inspired by the common legacy of Kazi Nazrul Islam and Rabindranath Tagore, the Indian Prime Minister said they have no time to lose, they must move forward for change, and they cannot delay any further.
He said the two countries' goals are common; therefore, their efforts should also be united. “We therefore need to further boost our efforts, add new dimensions to them, and take them to new heights,” he said.
Modi said he is confident that India and Bangladesh together will progress at a fast pace. “The love that you have showered on me, the brotherhood for India, this feeling of oneness – I will most certainly convey this to every Indian.”
The Indian Prime Minister, upon arrival here, visited National Martyrs' Memorial in Savar and paid tributes to martyrs of the 1971 Liberation War. He signed Visitors' Book there after planting a sapling.
"On behalf of the people of India, I pray that the eternal flame at Savar remains a lasting reminder of the noble victory of truth and courage over deceit and oppression," he wrote.
He said their valour will continue to inspire future generations to fight injustice and defend the cause of righteousness.
"May every visitor to this revered ground honour the sacred memory of the millions who were slain but not silenced," Modi wrote.