DHAKA, Dec 15, 2016 (BSS) - Veterans of India and Russia, who fought for liberating Bangladesh in 1971, today expressed their firm conviction that Bangladesh in near future would be a great and prosperous country in the global arena.
They highly appreciated massive transformation of Bangladesh in the areas of socioeconomic development and wished every success of the country and its people to live as a victorious and dignified nation in the world community.
The war veterans were addressing a reception accorded to their honour by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at her Gonobhaban residence here this evening.
A total of 29 war veterans of India and five from Russia and their spouses arrived Dhaka to join the celebration of 46th Victory Day of Bangladesh.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina extended her thanks to the war veterans of India and Russia for coming to Bangladesh on the eve of 46th Victory Day.
"We'll always remember the contributions that you made 45 years back ...........the sacrifices that you made our people will always remember that," she said.
Leader of the Indian delegation Lt. General (retd) GS Sihota and leader of Russian delegation Kozhurin Victor, war veterans of India Brig (retd) Bhanot Madan Mohan, Air Commodore (retd) Chandra Mohan Singla and Vice Admiral (retd) Raman Prem Suthan spoke on the occasion.
Former Foreign Minister Dr Dipu Moni and Mahjabeen Khaled, MP, also spoke on the occasion.
Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Harsh Vardhan Shringla, PM's advisor on international affairs Dr Gowher Rizvi and four serving military officers of India and officials of the India and Russian embassies and senior officials of Prime Minister's Office (PMO) were present.
Kozhurin Victor shared his experience as a marine officer and took part in sweeping mines in the Chittagong Port after the liberation war. He presented a book to the Prime Minister written in Russian language on mine sweeping operation.
He wished to translate the book in Bangla and donated the proceedings of the book for the welfare activities of the people of Bangladesh.
The Prime Minister said that after assassination of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in 1975, the country's people could not talk about the true history of war of liberation as it was totally distorted.
After coming to power in 1996 after 21 years of the assassination of Bangabandhu, her government started the process of remembering the foreign friends who made immense contributions and sacrifices during the war of independence.
"Once upon a time, it was all banned. But now people especially the younger generation is very much enthusiastic and they want to know the real history.......we always tell them that you should build this country as a Golden Bangladesh," she added.
Even after the war of liberation, Sheikh Hasina recalled the contributions of India and Russia in rebuilding the war-ravaged country.
Recalling the war days in Bangladesh, Indian delegation head Lt Gen (retd) GS Sihota said that as they landed today in Bangladesh, they saw a transformed nation.
Extending his heartfelt thanks to the Prime Minister for inviting them to join the victory day celebration, Lt. Gen. Sihota said that they brought greetings from everybody in India and also from the Defense Forces of India. "We want to wish prosperity to the nation," he added.
Recalling her memory in captivity during the war of liberation after Bangabandhu was arrested by the Pakistani forces, Sheikh Hasina, the eldest daughter of Bangabandhu, said usually they did not have the opportunity to come out of the room of the house where she along with other members of her family were held captive.
But, the premier recalled that when there were air strikes, they could hear the sounds and could see a little bit coming out of their rooms staying in that house in Dhanmondi.
Sheikh Hasina said although Bangladesh was liberated on December 16, but they were freed from that captivity on the following day as the Pakistani forces guarding that house then insisted saying 'Niazi can surrender, but we will not surrender,"
The Prime Minister said that in the early morning on December 17, an Indian Army team led by Major Ashok Tara came in that house and forced the Pakistani force to surrender and they were released.
Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)