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HomeindiaBangladesh War of Liberation bedrock of Dhaka's ties with India: Indian envoy

Bangladesh War of Liberation bedrock of Dhaka's ties with India: Indian envoy

Dhaka: India stands ready to walk together with Bangladesh in realising Dhaka’s vision of a stable, progressive and prosperous nation, the Indian envoy here has said as he underlined that the 1971 Liberation War remains the bedrock for ties between the two countries.

‘It is time for us to cherish our friendship and reiterate the commitment to preserve and promote the spirit of 1971 that remains the bedrock of our (Bangladesh-India) ties,’ Indian High Commissioner Pranay Verma was quoted as saying by Bangladesh’s national news agency BSS.

Conveying his warmest wishes on Victory Day, Verma on Saturday said the Liberation War and the triumph of the people epitomise the two countries’ shared sacrifices for Bangladesh’s freedom and stand testimony to the time-tested friendship between Delhi and Dhaka.

‘As nations whose destinies are as connected as our geographies and historical roots, we are today at the cusp of realising the promise of a Sonali adhyay (golden chapter) in our ties,’ he said.

The Liberation War in 1971 broke after the sudden crackdown at midnight on March 25, 1971 in the erstwhile East Pakistan by the Pakistani troops and ended on December 16. The same year Pakistan conceded defeat and unconditionally surrendered in Dhaka to the allied forces comprising the freedom fighters and the Indian soldiers.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the Biman Bangladesh Airlines inaugural flight from Dhaka to Chennai at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport here, Verma said the level and scope of partnership and the engagement between Bangladesh and India has grown at a rapid pace in recent years and connectivity has been one of the major manifestations of this transformation in the relationship.

In terms of air connectivity alone, he said, there are more than 120 flights linking Dhaka with five major Indian cities every week, besides a Delhi flight linking Chattogram with Kolkata.

‘Whether for tourism, for business, for health care or education, our people-to-people connect is a thriving, living foundation of our bilateral relations,’ Verma said, adding that the number of people travelling to each other’s country is only going to grow in the coming years.

‘The new transport links which are being constantly added to enhance our cross-border linkages, and the rising number of our people travelling to each other’s countries reflect a new era of our growing engagement and a new momentum in our people-to-people relations,’ he said.

During the last financial year, the envoy said, they issued over 15 lakh visas to Bangladeshi citizens visiting India, and the number is going to be surpassed this year.

‘We do indeed want this number to grow because we believe that people-to-people relations are what makes our relationship special,’ he said.

The envoy said that the Indian High Commission in Dhaka is constantly endeavouring to improve its resources to better handle the huge volume of visa requests from Bangladeshi nationals.

State Minister for Civil Aviation and Tourism M Mahbub Ali and Biman Bangladesh Airlines Managing Director and CEO Shafiul Azim were present on the occasion.

Biman Bangladesh board of directors chairman Mostofa Kamal Uddin, Civil Aviation and Tourism Secretary Md Mokammel Hossain and HSIA’s Executive Director Captain M Kamrul Islam were also present.

The inaugural flight operated by Boeing 737 carrying 161 passengers took off from Dhaka’s Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport (HSIA) at 12.50 pm (local time).

Initially, Biman will operate 3 flights weekly on this route on Monday, Thursday, and Saturday with departure from Dhaka at 12:50 pm (local time) arrival at Chennai at 3:20 pm (local time) and return flight departure from Chennai at 4:15 pm (local time) and arrival at Dhaka at 7:30 pm (local time).

(Published 17 December 2023, 13:19 IST)

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