26 Mar 2021: Next 25 year crucial for Bangladesh and India, says Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi Friday participated in the National Day program of Bangladesh in Dhaka in what was his first international trip since the COVID-19 pandemic.
Modi said the next 25 years are crucial for both nations.
In Bangladesh, Modi is set to attend the 50th anniversary Bangladesh's independence, the birth centenary of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, and hold talks with Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina.
Visit: Modi visited Bangladesh to celebrate 50th anniversary of 1971 war
Modi embarked on his two-day Dhaka from Delhi on a new custom-made VVIP aircraft for the first time.
The B777 aircraft—call sign AI1 or Air India One—was delivered by Boeing to the Indian government in October last year.
The PM is visiting Bangladesh to celebrate the golden jubilee of the 1971 war victory, where India defeated Pakistan and Bangladesh was created.
Statement: India-Bangladesh ties will not fall prey to diplomacy: Modi
Speaking in Dhaka, Modi said the relationship between India and Bangladesh will not fall prey to any diplomacy.
"Today in Bangladesh, the blood of those who fought for their liberation and the blood of Indian soldiers are flowing together," he said. "I salute the brave soldiers of the Indian Army who stood with the brothers and sisters of Bangladesh in the 'Muktijuddho' (Liberation War)."
Quote: 'We must remain vigilant against terrorism'
Further, Modi said, "I must have been 20 or 22 years old when I and my colleagues did Satyagraha for Bangladesh's freedom."
Modi said that both nations have "similar threats, such as terrorism."
He said, "The ideas and powers behind such types of inhumane acts are still active. We must remain vigilant and united to counter them."
Fact: Modi visited National Martyr's memorial
On Friday, Modi had also visited the National Martyr's memorial at Savar to honor those martyred in the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War. Modi also planted a sapling of the Arjuna tree at the memorial. In Dhaka, he also met 'Muktijoddhas', the fighters of the war.
Hasina: India has become one of our best development partners: Hasina
Hasina said, "India has now become one of our best development partners. Government of India was beside us during our good and bad times."
She remembered Rahman, her father, who was assassinated on August 15, 1975, along with his family members by a group of junior army officers.
Hasina and her sister, Sheikh Rehana, lived as they were visiting West Germany at the time.
Quote: 'I remember the sacrifice of Indian soldiers'
Hasina said, "India is not only our next-door neighbor. We have historical, social, and cultural heritage, and geographical rapport. The people and the government of India were immensely involved in the evolution process of Bangladesh during our liberation war in 1971."
"A notable number of Indian soldiers sacrificed their lives along with our freedom fighters... I remember their sacrifice with great honor," she said.
Fact: Hasina thanked India for sending COVID-19 vaccines
Hasina also thanked India for sending COVID-19 vaccines to Bangladesh. Modi said, "India is very happy that Made-in-India COVID-19 vaccines are being used by our brothers and sisters of Bangladesh."
Gandhi Peace Prize: Modi handed Gandhi Peace Prize to Rehman's younger daughter
PM Modi also handed over the Gandhi Peace Prize 2020 to former Bangladesh PM Sheikh Mujibur Rehman's younger daughter. The honor was conferred on Rahman posthumously earlier this week.
The Gandhi Peace Prize is an annual award issued by India since 1995.
"It is a matter of pride for Indians that we got the opportunity to honor Sheikh Mujibur Rahman," Modi said Friday.
Protest: Protests against Modi erupt in Bangladesh
Protests erupted in Chittagong city on Friday against Modi, during which at least four people were killed, a police official said. Protests also emerged in Dhaka, where dozens of people were injured in clashes.
"We had to fire teargas and rubber bullets to disperse them as they entered a police station and carried out extensive vandalism," Rafiqul Islam, the police official told Reuters.