Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Friday said India is irrefutably linked to Bangladesh’s 1971 birth as her counterpart in the neighbouring country Narendra Modi joined Bangabandhu’s Birth Centenary and the country’s Independence Golden Jubilee celebrations in the capital.
“India is inextricably linked to Bangladesh’s birth,” she told the concluding of the 10-day national celebrations of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s Birth Centenary and Golden Jubilee of Bangladesh’s 1971 Independence at the National Parade Square, reports BSS.
She simultaneously paid rich tributes to the Indian veterans who fought for Bangladesh’s independence alongside Bangladeshi freedom fighters while a number of octogenarian Indian military officials who fought the 1971 war were president on the audience line.
The Bangladesh premier urged India to take the lead role in developing a politically stable and economically vibrant South Asia in line with Modi’s “neighbourhood first” policy and being the biggest country in the region.
“We laud Prime Minister Modiji’s ‘neighborhood first’ policy (but) India needs to play a pioneering role in building a stable and politically-economically vibrant South Asia,” Sheikh Hasina said.
She appreciated India for sending vaccines for preventing coronavirus to the neighboring countries, including Bangladesh calling the gesture a “reflection of that policy”.
Sheikh Hasina added: “If we move forward hand in hand, the development of our people is inevitable” and noted that Dhaka-New Delhi relations by now reached to a new height.
President Abdul Hamid joined as the chief guest, also witnessed by Bangabandhu’s youngest daughter Sheikh Rehana along with others.
Sheikh Hasina said her government now overcome multiple obstacles to take Bangladesh on the track of prosperity which by now earned the country the status of a developing country from a least developed one.
The premier said serious efforts were underway to make Bangladesh “an upper-middle-income country by 2031 as per UN declared sustainable development goals and a developed and prosperous one by 2041”.
“Let us (now) pledge to forget all differences and work together for the welfare of our peoples with a view to establishing South Asia a developed and prosperous region” as the country celebrates the two auspicious events simultaneously, she said.
Sheikh Hasina along with Sheikh Rehana earlier welcomed at the Parade Square the Indian premier, who handed them over the Gandhi Peace Prize 2020 awarded to Bangladesh’s founder in recognition of his outstanding contributions towards social, economic and political transformation through non-violent and other Gandhian methods.
Sheikh Rehana, on behalf of the National Implementation Committee for the Birth Centenary Celebration of Father of the Nation, presented Modi the “Eternal Mujib” memento.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s congratulatory video messages were screened at the function, while messages from US President Joe Biden, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan were read out.
Bangabandhu’s Birth Centenary Celebration
Chief Coordinator of the National Implementation Committee for the Birth Centenary celebrations Dr Kamal Abdul Naser Chowdhury delivered the welcome address at the programme.
The logo of Golden Jubilee of Independence was unveiled followed by a presentation of its theme song at the function.
The Indian Premier became the fifth among the world leaders to attend the celebrations.
Earlier, Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and his spouse Fazna Ahmed graced the opening ceremony of the celebrations on March 17, while Prime Minister of Sri Lanka Mahinda Rajapaksa joined on the third day, Nepalese President Bidya Devi Bhandari joined on the 6th day and Bhutanese Premier Lotay Tshering joined on the 8th day as guest of honors.