On the 35th anniversary of Vijay Divas on Saturday, Congress President Sonia Gandhi said that the liberation of Bangladesh from Pakistan remains one the "brightest passages" of India’s history.
"It marks our commitment to the ideals of freedom from oppression and the right of self-determination and democratic self-rule," Sonia said in a message greeting the 1971 war veterans. She recalled the valour of the armed forces and the visionary leadership of then prime minister Indira Gandhi.
In retracing history and Indira’s decisive and courageous leadership, Sonia also indirectly sought to refute the BJP’s charge that the Congress has failed to safeguard the country’s security and prevent the saffron outfit’s game-plan of projecting itself as the only party capable of protecting the country’s honour.
The Congress made no mention of it on Saturday, but the role Indira had played in the creation of Bangladesh had prompted A B Vajpayee--then Jan Sangh leader to hail her as "Durga."
On Saturday, Sonia joined the Vijay Divas celebrations at the AICC lawns and met over 1600 ex-servicemen who had participated in Operation Cactus Lily that led to the creation of Bangladesh.
Among the war veterans who attended the function included Admiral SM Nanda, who was Naval chief during the war and 131 other generals and brigadiers and their equivalent ranks. Some of them narrated their battle experience to the Congress chief.
Sonia spent some time with the war widows as well. She also inaugurated a photo exhibition on the war in the eastern and western sectors, including the surrender ceremony in Dhaka and Indira’s visit to the forward areas during the operations.