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Rashtrapati Bhavan : 16.12.2021

‘On this historic 50th anniversary of the Liberation of Bangladesh, I bring you festive greetings from your 1.3 billion brothers and sisters in India’, said the President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind. He was speaking ata special programme organised to mark the Golden Jubilee of the independence of Bangladesh and conclusion of "Mujib Borsho” celebrations at the National Parliament of Bangladesh this evening (December 16, 2021). The President said that, fifty years ago, the ideological map of South Asia changed irreversibly and the proud nation of Bangladesh was born. He paid tribute to the memory of the untold suffering of tens of millions of people of Bangladesh, especially the brutalized daughters, sisters and mothers and said that it is their sacrifice, and the righteousness of the cause of Bangladesh, that has transformed the region.

The President said that history has few examples to equal the scale of empathy and grass-root-level support that struggle of Bangladesh evoked in India. People spontaneously opened their hearts and homes to offer all possible support to the people of Bangladesh. It was our abiding honour and our solemn responsibility to help our brothers and sisters in their hour of need. He said thathistory would always bear witness to this unique foundation of our friendship, forged in the people’s war that liberated Bangladesh. Veterans of that war – both from India and Bangladesh - are living testimony to the power of faith and friendship, which can move mountains.

The President said that a little over 50 years ago, the vision of an independent Bangladesh inspired millions. But it seemed a remote and impossible dream then to naysayers, skeptics and detractors. The international context and real politik seemed to rule out the prospects of Liberation. But the inspiring states manship of Bangabandhu, his clear-sighted moral conviction and his unflinching determination to seek justice for the people of East Pakistan were truly the game-changers.

The President said that the vision of Bangabandhu was of a Bangladesh that was not only free politically, but also of a nation that was equitable and inclusive. Sadly, his vision could not be realised in his lifetime. The anti-Liberation forces who brutally killed Bangabandhu and most of his family did not realize that bullets and violence cannot extinguish an idea that has captured the imagination of the people. Today, these ideals of Bangabandhu are being realised by the hardworking and enterprising people of Bangladesh, guided by the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the President said.

The President said that we have witnessed the commendable economic growth achieved by Bangladesh in the last decade, which has also created opportunities for its citizens to realize their full potential. He said that Bangladesh’s stellar economic performance complemented by geographical advantage can benefit the entire sub-region and the world. There is a growing recognition among international experts about the fact that close sub-regional trade, economic cooperation and connectivity would help accelerate the process of achieving a Shonar Banglain the shortest possible period of time.

The President said that India has always attached the highest priority to its friendship with Bangladesh. We remain committed to doing all we can, to help realizefull potential of our friendship.In recent years, we have seen steady expansion of trade, economic cooperation, people-to-people ties, student exchanges and extensive engagements across multiple areas of activity. These are guarantees of a sustainable, deep friendship, based on mutual respect, sovereign equality and our respective long-term interests.

The President said that if the first 50 years of India-Bangladesh partnership began by surmounting extraordinary challenges that forged a deep friendship between our people, perhaps the time has come to raise the bar even higher. To achieve that, our businesses, our academics and especially our youth must be motivated to jointly create globally-pioneering initiatives in the world of ideas, creativity, commerce and technology. We must urge our thinkers to leverage the power of our own unique success stories, to find ‘best-in-class’ ideas that are relevant in our regional context. Together we can create opportunities for seamless flow of ideas and innovation as we enter a new era of inter-connectivity. And our businesses should be encouraged to realize the vision of deeply-integrated supply chains of production and transport connectivity, enabling our sub-region to become one of the world’s largest production centres, and the world’s largest market for goods and services.

Earlier in the morning, the President attended the National Victory Day Parade as the ‘guest of honour’ at the National Parade Ground in Dhaka. In this celebrations a 122-member tri services contingent of the Indian Armed Forces also participated.

Tomorrow, the President will inaugurate the renovated Ramna Kali Mandir in Dhaka and also grace and address the Indian Community and Friends of India Reception hosted by the High Commissioner of India in Bangladesh, before leaving for New Delhi.

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