Military contingent of Bangladesh marches down Rajpath, team leader says an honour

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New Delhi, Jan 26 (PTI) In a first, a 122-member marching-cum-band contingent of the Bangladesh Armed Forces took part in the 72nd Republic Day parade on the Rajpath on Tuesday, coinciding with the golden jubilee of that country's independence.

Col Md Mohtashim Hyder Chowdhury, the leader of the contingent from the neighbouring country, had earlier said the 'enduring relationship' between the two countries is growing day by day.

The Bangladeshi tri-services contingent was the first marching contingent to walk down the ceremonial boulevard.

Lt Col Abu Md Shahnoor Shawon of the Bangladesh army, who spearheaded the parading contingent said, 'It was an honour for us to be part of this august ceremony of India, and that too in the 50th year of our Independence. And, India gave us the honour to lead the parade.' The Bangladeshi military band right behind the marching contingent played six tunes in all, including some of the iconic ones like war song 'Chal Chal Chal' by poet Kazi Nazrul Islam, and 'Shono Ekti Mujiborer'.

The 122 members of the contingent are drawn mostly from units raised during the 1971 war and several other units which were raised before it, he said. Seven military officers are also accompanying them.

The marching contingent members wore a special red band in honour of the heroes who made sacrifice in the 1971 war.

'So, many members of the Indian armed forces laid down their lives during the 1971 Liberation War. We are remembering all the war heroes,' Chowdhury had earlier said.

The 122 members of the contingent and senior officers accompanying them were airlifted from Dhaka in an Indian Air Force's C-17 Globemaster, officials said, adding, they will be sent back in a Globemaster too.

The newly inducted Rafale fighter aircraft was the show-stopper as India displayed its military might and vibrant cultural heritage on the Rajpath on the 72nd Republic Day on Tuesday, with the ceremonial event this year being drastically scaled down in view of the COVID-19 pandemic. PTI KND CK