'During our good times and bad...': Bangladesh PM expresses gratitude to India
Bangladesh’s Sheikh Hasina on Friday expressed her gratitude to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is on a two-day visit, and the people of India for supporting her country during its liberation war of 1971 and during ongoing the coronavirus pandemic.
"The government of India was beside us during our good and bad times. This time, India handed over 109 ambulances for the people of Bangladesh. I extend my heartiest thanks to PM Modi, his government and the people of India. Before this, India had cooperated with us and gifted us vaccines for Covid,” Prime minister Hasina said while addressing an event to mark Bangladesh's National Day.
"India is not only our next-door neighbour, we have a historical, social, cultural heritage and geographical rapport. The people and government of India were immensely involved in the evolution process of Bangladesh during our liberation war in 1971," she said.
Remembering the military coup of 1975, in which her father Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was killed, she said, "I remember with great anguish, August 15 1975 - a dark night for Bangladesh when the Father of the Nation was assassinated. My mother, three brothers, two sisters-in-law, a 10-year-old brother, and uncle were brutally assassinated, and I remember all those who attained martyrdom that night.”
“During those difficult times, India sheltered about 10 million people who fled from Bangladesh in the face of persecution by Pakistani soldiers, in the face of killing, genocide and rape. India gave them shelter, food and medication. They helped our freedom fighters with all types of cooperation," she said.
Hasina was addressing the event, of which PM Modi was also a part, at the National Parade Ground in Dhaka. PM Modi is on a visit to the country after the Bangladesh government invited him to take part in the celebration of the Golden Jubilee of its independence. The invite is seen as a step towards strengthening the 50-year-old diplomatic ties between the two nations.
Bangladesh is also celebrating the birth centenary of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, who is also the recipient of this year's Gandhi Peace Prize.