Wishing Sheikh Hasina, the Bangladeshi premier and the people of India’s closest neighbour on their Golden Jubilee celebrations of independence and the birth centenary of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Congress president Sonia Gandhi in a video message said, “Fifty years ago, the courageous people of Bangladesh scripted a whole new destiny for themselves and transformed both history and geography of the sub-continent”.
Gandhi was invited to join the celebrations in Dhaka by Hasina but couldn’t travel due to Covid-19 related restrictions.
In a video message, Gandhi lauded Bangladesh’s effort on various fronts and said, “Over the past five decades, Bangladesh’s remarkable achievements in social development, community participation, eco growth and other areas has been very impressive and has received global recognition.”
Reminiscing about the friendship between former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and Bangladesh’s founding father Sheikh Mujibar Rehman, Gandhi said, “We in India have always had a special relationship with the people of Bangladesh. This has been in very large measure because of the role Indira Gandhi played in historic events of 1971,” referring to India’s support for Bangladesh’s liberation war (Mukti-Jhuddo). She added that the two leaders had established “bonds of mutual respect, admiration and deep friendship”.
Drawing a parallel between the developments in India and Bangladesh in 1971, Gandhi maintained that it was “as much a transformative year for India as it was for Bangladesh”, referring to the rise of India Gandhi as a political leader as well as a statesman.
Looking back at the joyous occasion of the birth of Bangladesh, the Congress president also mentioned how both countries continue to face similar challenges.
“Both our countries face many challenges– economic, political and environmental. Most of all, both Bangladesh and India, which have been beacons for the celebrations of their diversity and are being called upon to protect and strengthen their composite heritage and their traditions of liberal pluralism,” Gandhi said.
The Congress president, who was present in Delhi during the period of war, recalled how she and her late husband Rajiv Gandhi lived through that period.
News Source: Hindustan Times