(This was originally posted in The Print by Anisur Rahman)
Dhaka: Indian Army chief Gen MM Naravane on Thursday met Bangladesh’s Air Force and Navy chiefs, and discussed issues of mutual interest and matters on bilateral defence cooperation.
Naravane also paid tributes to the fallen heroes of Bangladesh’s 1971 Liberation War after arriving in the country on a five-day visit to further strengthen the close and fraternal ties existing between the Armed Forces of the two nations. The visit of Naravane, who is here at the invitation of his Bangladeshi counterpart Gen Aziz Ahmed, comes less than two weeks after Prime Minister Narendra Modi traveled to the neighboring country.
The Indian Army’s Additional Directorate General of Public Information (ADG PI) said on Twitter that Gen Naravane called on Admiral M Shaheen Iqbal, Chief of Naval Staff, Bangladesh Navy, and discussed issues of mutual interest. After his interaction with Admiral Iqbal, the Indian Army chief met the country’s acting Chief of Air Staff of Bangladesh Air Force. General MM Naravane COAS interacted with Air Vice Marshal M Abul Bashar, Acting Chief of Air Staff of Bangladesh Air Force, and discussed matters on bilateral defence cooperation, the ADG PI said in another tweet.
Soon after his arrival here, Gen Narawane paid tribute to the fallen heroes of the 1971 Liberation War by laying a wreath at the altar of Shikha Anirban in Dhaka Cantonment. “Gen Narawane on 1st day of his 5-day visit to #Bangladesh paid tributes to the martyrs of the Liberation War at the #ShikhaAnirban today,” the ADG PI said. He was welcomed with a guard of honor at Senakunj. He will also be visiting various military stations in Bangladesh.
The Indian Army chief will share his experience during the seminar on United Nations Peace Support Operations. He will also witness the culmination exercise, hardware display and closing ceremony of the joint military exercise ‘Shantir Ogroshena’, a multilateral UN-mandated counter-terrorism exercise from April 4 to 12. Besides armies of Bangladesh and India, the exercise is being participated by Bhutan and Sri Lanka along with observers from the US, the UK, Turkey and Saudi Arabia. The visit of the Indian Army chief will further strengthen the close and fraternal ties existing between the Armed Forces of the two countries, the Indian High Commission here said.
The year 2021 marks the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between India and Bangladesh, the liberation of Bangladesh and the birth centenary of ‘Bangabandhu’ Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. In reflection of close ties, India is also hosting a number of events to mark the 50th anniversary of the 1971 war that led to the liberation of Bangladesh.
Around 93,000 Pakistani troops had surrendered before the joint forces of the Indian Army and the “Mukti Bahini” on December 16, 1971 that paved the way for the birth of Bangladesh. The Army chief is also scheduled to visit the Mujibur Rahman memorial museum in Dhanmondi where he will pay tributes to the founding father of that country.