India has decided never to back those who had opposed Bangladesh’s War of Independence in 1971, its Acting High Commissioner in Dhaka said on Wednesday.
Sandeep Chakraborty also said at a discussion that this position was taken at the highest level of his country.
“India will never back those who were against Bangladesh’s independence. What I am informing you is not only my word but also the statements of the Indian President and the Prime Minister.”
India had stood by Bangladesh during the nation’s War of Independence and took in over 10 million refugees from Bangladesh, trained freedom fighters and later joined the war against Pakistan.
As a mark of gratitude, in July last year, former Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was conferred the ‘Bangladesh Freedom Honour’ for her unparalleled support and contribution to help Bangladesh emerge on the world map.
Her daughter-in-law Sonia Gandhi, also President of India’s ruling Congress party, received the award posthumously. Indira Gandhi was the first of the foreign friends to be conferred the highest state honour.
Bangladesh has been regularly honouring its foreign friends who contributed to the freedom struggle since the Awami League-led coalition government assumed office.
In the second phase, 83 persons were honoured on March 27 this year and another 61 were honoured in the third phase on Oct 20. Bangladesh honoured 60 persons and two institutions on Dec 15 this year, the month of victory, for their contribution to independence.
The latest league of foreign friends awarded included renowned Indians like communist leader Ila Mitra, her husband Ramendra Mitra, Bengali music legend Salil Chowdhury, singers Hemanta Mukhopadhyay and Manna Dey, acclaimed filmmaker Ritwik Ghatak, writer Sunil Gangopadhyay and famous painter Maqbool Fida Husain.
The envoy said Bangladesh government’s initiative to honour members of the Indian armed forces who had taken part in Bangladesh’s Liberation War was a ‘great step’ and hoped the amiable Indo-Bangla relationship would continue to flourish.
Chakraborty said India would assist Bangladesh in its efforts to emerge as a developed country.
The Awami League organised the discussion Suhrawardy Udyan’s ‘Bijoy Mancha’ marking the 42nd Victory Day.