In Kolkata and Dhaka, the countdown has begun to the commemoration of Vijay Diwas on 16 December — the day Pakistan surrendered to the Indian Army in Dhaka in 1971. It’s been 46 years since that historic day but there is a first. For the first time, serving Indian Army officers will be part of the Indian team that will visit Dhaka for the commemoration.
“It’s yet another sign of growing closeness between India and Bangladesh,” said Major General R Nagaraju, MGGS, Eastern Command. “For the first time, the chief of Bangladesh Army, General Abu Belal Mohammed Shafiul Haq, was chief guest at Indian Military Academy’s passing-out parade in Dehradun on Saturday.”
Increasing ‘closeness’ to Dhaka may also be an attempt by India to contain China’s growing influence in Bangladesh and even Myanmar, though Maj. Gen. Nagaraju said, “Every nation has the right to think about its own security” when asked why Bangladesh had two Chinese-built submarines in Chittagong for some years now.
The Indian delegation to Dhaka will have 30 members, including four serving Army officers and several 1971 veterans. The Bangladesh delegation of 72 people will include 30 Mukti Jodhas or freedom fighters, several lawmakers and their families. They will attend celebrations in Kolkata from 13 to 16 December.
Forty-six years ago, on 16 December, the chief of Pakistan’s Eastern Command, Lieutenant General Amir Abdullah Khan Niazi, along with his 93,000 troops, surrendered to Indian Army’s Lieutenant General Jagjit Singh Aurora in Dhaka, marking the liberation of Bangladesh from West Pakistan.
While the 16 December commemoration is held especially for those who died in the 1971 war, the day is also a mark to respect to all Indian soldiers who have died in the war.
Events in Kolkata will include a military band concert at Prinsep Memorial on Wednesday and a military tattoo or horse show on Thursday and a helicopter flight display. Both these events are open to the public.
SOURCE – NDTV