The sight of the Bangladesh Army contingent proudly marching down New Delhi’s Rajpath on 26 January is a rare event indeed. Scarcely can anyone believe that it has been 50 years of the liberation of Bangladesh from Pakistani rule. What an occasion to celebrate one of the finest military victories in modern history. Rarely has there been a military campaign like the India-Pakistan war of 1971 in the Eastern theatre.
Both India and Bangladesh are celebrating the Golden Jubilee of that war. The participation in the Republic Day parade is just the beginning of year-long celebrations. The 122-personnel strong contingent comprises soldiers from the units that fought alongside the Indian Army in the war.
This is an apt recognition of the role played by the soldiers of both countries in 1971. The 14-day war that resulted in perhaps the largest surrender of an opposing army has few parallels in history. This is also a good time to rethink and recollect the sacrifices of the people on both sides as also the astute leadership of Indira Gandhi and Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Not only was a young nation born but also the ‘two-nation’ theory torn to shreds forever. Pakistan continues to lick the wounds of this huge humiliation and national disgrace.
Indian Army and Mukti Bahini
The stories of coordination and cooperation between the Indian armed forces and Bangladeshi Mukti Bahini from March 1971 are now part of folklore and the shared history of our two nations.