Bangladesh is constructing a memorial to commemorate Indian heroes of the 1971 war

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A model of a memorial building that Bangladesh is constructing for Indian soldiers who participated in the 1971 Bangladesh War. P

A model of a memorial building that Bangladesh is constructing for Indian soldiers who participated in the 1971 Bangladesh War. P

An advanced stage of completion has been reached by a memorial that aims to honor the Indian soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice during the Liberation War of Bangladesh in 1971. The memorial will feature the names of approximately 1,600 Indian soldiers. Expected to be completed by December, the goal is to have it inaugurated by the two Prime Ministers in March or April, as stated by A.K.M. Mozammel Haque, the Bangladeshi Minister for Liberation War Affairs.

It will be the first memorial in Bangladesh dedicated exclusively to honoring Indian soldiers from the 1971 war. In March 2021, the foundation stone for the memorial in Ashuganj, Brahmanbaria, was laid by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

“The foundation for the monument was laid by the two Prime Ministers. The plan is to finish it by December. We will engrave all the names of the Indian soldiers who were martyred so that everyone can recognize those who sacrificed for our emancipation, for our liberation,” Mr. Haque said while speaking at an event at the Bangladeshi High Commission on Thursday.

We will strive to invite both Prime Ministers, despite the fact that there are elections in both countries. “That is why we are considering inaugurating it in March or April, with the presence of both Prime Ministers,” he added.

Major Chandrakant Singh, VrC, a 1971 war veteran and author of multiple books on the war, including one on Lt Gen Sagat Singh, who was then the 4 Corps Commander, introduced Mr. Haque as the first Bangladeshi who attacked the Pakistan Army in 1971. “I feel happy and proud to have been associated with this project. My battalion, 4 Guards, captured Ashuganj on December 08, 1971,” he told The Hindu.

Ashuganj is located in close proximity to the Indian border, adjacent to Tripura, and can be easily accessed by road from India. The intention was to have it situated near the border with India, as revealed by Lt Col Quazi Sazzad Ali Zahir, a Bangladeshi war veteran from 1971 who actively worked on the historical project. He also mentioned that the memorial, situated in a vast complex, aims to raise awareness of the war among the youth and will include a recreation facility for children within its premises. Ashuganj held particular significance in the liberation war as Indian forces crossed the Meghna river to advance towards Dhaka.

Mr. Modi visited Bangladesh in March 2021 to participate in the celebrations of the Golden Jubilee of Bangladesh’s independence, the birth centenary of the Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, and the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. In his address, Mr. Modi stated, “I salute the brave soldiers of the Indian Army who stood with the brothers and sisters of Bangladesh in Muktijuddo… those who shed their blood in Muktijuddo, sacrificed themselves, and played a monumental role in realizing the dream of an independent Bangladesh.” He also announced India’s donation of military equipment used by the Indian armed forces in the Liberation War to museums in Bangladesh.

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