Must recognise Indira Gandhi’s role in getting back Bangabandhu: B’desh FM

IANS- Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dr A.K. Abdul Momen on Sunday said the “month of victory” will come up in a big way at the coming India-Bangladesh Prime Ministers Summit because it is also a victory for India as they supported Bangladesh to achieve victory in 1971 and that “we must acknowledge the contributions of the then Indian Prime Minister (Indira Gandhi)”.

Bangladesh will raise all major issues, including of water and border, during the virtual meeting between Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi on December 17, he said.

“We’ll raise our major issues, which we usually raise,” he told reporters at his office, adding that a number of “quick-impact” projects will be inaugurated too.

Abdul Momen recalled the contribution of the then governments of India and the UK for bringing Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, who was in a jail in Pakistan, back home alive in 1972, saying: “We must acknowledge it.”

He said that the relations between Bangladesh and India are historic and of blood. “And India is a time-tested friend of Bangladesh. So, India has reasons to be proud of our victory.”

Abdul Momen also mentioned Bangladesh and India are witnessing a golden chapter in their relations. “The two countries have set an example by resolving issues like LBA and maritime boundaries through dialogue and discussions.”

He said they believe that the two countries can resolve all the issues through discussions. “Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has shown leadership maturity in resolving problems.”

The Chilahati-Haldibari rail link, a pre-1965 connectivity line, will be inaugurated along with some other projects during the Summit between Prime Ministers Sheikh Hasina and Modi.

Responding to a question, Abdul Momen said a road named ‘Swadhinata Sarak’ (Memory of Independence) will be opened marking the 50 years of Bangladesh’s independence on March 26 next year. He added that the road remains functional on the Indian side while it will be connected through Mujibnagar in Meherpur district.

“It’ll help boost people-to-people contact between the two countries.”

Bangladesh has invited Modi to visit Bangladesh on March 26 in person to jointly celebrate the Independence Day of Bangladesh, and the Indian government accepted the invitation in principle.

Bangladesh and India will chart out plans to take the “rock-solid and historic” Dhaka-Delhi relations to the next level expanding the areas of cooperation between the two countries with a number of engagements in the coming months, officials said.