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Bangladesh Marks 50 Years of Liberation War Victory

On 16th December 2021, Bangladesh marked 50 years of victory over Pakistan in a bloody war for independence by hosting a military parade with the Indian President Ram Nath Kovind as a guest of honour. President Kovind is in Bangladesh on his maiden State Visit at the invitation of his counterpart M Abdul Hamid to attend the golden jubilee celebrations of Bangladesh’s independence from Pakistan in 1971. 

Veterans who lost their limbs in the war laid wreaths and were watched by thousands of solemn observers at the National Martyrs’ Memorial, a concrete monument near Dhaka symbolising the campaign against Pakistani rule. Huge crowds paid tribute to Bangladesh’s war heroes in the capital Dhaka and other cities on Thursday. Women across the country wore saris of green and red, matching the national flag, as they watched concerts where musicians performed patriotic songs. Bangladesh has held celebrations throughout the year to mark the golden anniversary of its independence, though some events were called off because of the coronavirus pandemic.

On December 16, 1971, Pakistani soldiers surrendered to a joint India-Bangladesh force, formally making Bangladesh a new nation under the leadership of independence leader Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the father of current Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. The war began on March 26th and continued for nine months which killed as many as three million people before the victory was declared in December, aided by India under then-Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Arindam Bagchi stated on Twitter, “A grand beginning! In a special gesture, President HE Md. Abdul Hamid & First Lady Ms Rashida Hamid welcomed President Kovind @rashtrapatibhvn & First Lady Smt. Savita Kovind, as they arrived in Dhaka. Accorded a red-carpet welcome, a 21-gun salute, and a Guard of Honour.” He further stated “May the spirit of those who sacrificed their lives to realise the ideals of the Liberation War continue to guide our thoughts and actions President Kovind @rashtrapatibhvn pays tributes at the National Martyrs’ Memorial to the brave hearts of the Liberation War of Bangladesh.”