The first India-Bangladesh ‘Moitree Dibosh’ was celebrated on December 6, 2021. This day marks the recognition of an independent and sovereign Bangladesh, by India and Bhutan, fifty years ago – ten days before Bangladesh was actually liberated.

2.​The decision to mark December 06 as ‘Moitree Dibosh’ was taken by Their Excellencies Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina during the State Visit of Prime MinisterNarendra Modi to Bangladesh in March this year. As testimony to the unique foundations of our friendship and the remarkable journey of Bangladesh over the past 50 years, both countries are celebrating Moitree Dibosh not only in Delhi and Dhaka, but in 18 other cities worldwide.

3.​In Dhaka, a Reception and Musical evening were hosted by High Commission of India at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre. Hon’ble H.E. Dr. Shirin Sharmin Chaudhary graced the occasion as Chief Guest; with Senior representatives from the Government of Bangladesh including Cabinet Ministers, Members of Parliament, the Chief of the Army Staff, Secretaries to the Government, senior officials, IGP of Police, leaders of business and industry, media, academia and civil society present. Bangladeshi nationals selected for India’s highest civilian honours, in the years 2020 and 2021, were specially invited and felicitated in presence of the august gathering.

4.​The celebrations culminated in a grand cultural performance by Gaan Bangla, under direction of Mr. Kaushik Hossain Taposh, Managing Director and CEO. As many as 50 eminent artists, including from India and Bangladesh performed on this occasion. A video, produced by the Government of Bangladesh to showcase the history of the bilateral relationship from the 1971 Liberation War to the present-day Shonali Adhyay was also screened in Dhaka and at all other Moitree Dibosh events worldwide. A crowdsourced logo and backdrop for the event, jointly selected by both countries through an open competition, was displayed in Dhaka as well as across the world.

5.​This landmark celebration reaffirms the shared committed of both countries to further strengthen the uniquely-close friendship, founded on shared values, culture and ethos and based on mutual trust, respect and understanding.

Address by the High Commissioner on the occasion of Maitree Diwas on 6thDecember, 2021 

Your Excellency Madam Speaker, 

Excellencies, Distinguished Guests, 

Ladies and Gentlemen, 

Thank you for your presence at this celebration of 50 years of our recognition of an independent Bangladesh. It is a particularly special date, as this recognition came ten days before the actual victory of Indian and Bangladesh allied forces in the Liberation War. 

Our celebrations mark this important day – Maitree Diwas – when India and Bhutan became the first countries to recognize an independent Bangladesh. These Maitree Dibosh celebrationsare being conducted in 18 major cities across the world, apart from Delhi and Dhaka. 

Neither of our countries has ever attempted to mark any such milestone jointly with any other country on a scale as large as this. Despite the continuing challenges of the COVID pandemic,India’s leadership under PM Modi has accorded the highest priority to celebrating the 50thanniversary of the Liberation of Bangladesh. This is reflected in the decision of Their Excellencies, Prime Minister Modi and Hon’ble Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, to mark December 6 henceforth as Maitree Dibosh. 

Excellencies, Friends, 

The Liberation of Bangladesh changed the political map of South-Asia. But it also changed our ideological map: your freedom proved beyond doubt that the common bonds of culture, civilization, and language transcend the false theory that different religious groups cannot live together. Your Liberation struggle also emphasized the inevitability of the victory of truth and justice over brutality and oppression. 

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, 

The War of Liberation and our close alliance and partnership in freeing Bangladesh from Pakistani oppression had many components that secured the victory of December 16. 

These included the coordination of diplomatic and geopolitical strategies; management of domestic social stability in areas where traumatizedBangladeshi citizens took refuge; management of relief operations, and of course, tactical and strategic military cooperation. 

But our partnership went much further. 

Your Government-in-exile, under the leadership of Acting President Syed Nazrul Islam and Prime Minister Tajuddin Ahmad, acting on behalf of Bangabandhu, had already developed plans with Indian counterparts for the swift return of refugees, and the earliest withdrawal of Indian military units, after victory. Preparations were also made for reconstruction and the management of supplies of essential commodities, including food, medicine, power generation and transmission equipment and for the restoration of Railways and ports. 

It is an example seldom seen in history that nearly 7 million refugees went home within six weeks of the Liberation of Bangladesh. Nearly all 10 million refugees were home in their independent country by March 25, 1972. 

Indeed, it is also an example seldom seen anywhere in the world that Indian forces supporting the Mukti Bahini were withdrawn within less than three months of the Liberation. By that time, in the spring of 1972, the process of international recognition of Bangladesh was well underway. By then, the world was recognizing the strength of Bangabandhu’s vision and his unquestioned leadership of an independent Bangladesh. 

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, 

Ten days from now, we will mark 50 years of the iconic moment when Lieutenant General Niazi signed the Instrument of Surrender in the presence of Lieutenant General Jagjit Singh Aurora, and Group Captain Khandaker representing the Indian and Bangladesh Forces. This was obviously received with nationwide rejoicing in Bangladesh. 

But it was also a moment of great joy in India. I can do no better than to bring to you the voice of our Parliament, with a recording from the moment when the Liberation of Bangladesh was announced.

I am asking my colleagues to play that audio clip now for you. [AUDIO CLIP]

In the next 50 years, we will have much to do to build on the foundation of our friendship and our history together. We have made important achievements especially in the last decade. Today, our countries are the closest partners in the political, diplomatic, commercial, economic, developmental, cultural, security, and even people-to-people fronts. We must now ensure that future generations understand this history. Because it is the youth of today who will make this partnership irreversible. 

Doing so would be a truly fitting contribution to the millions of Bangladeshi martyrs who gave their all for this country. As did their Indian allies and friends, who sacrificed in the name of our friendship. 

Thank you very much for your attention. Bharat-Bangladesh Moitree Chiranjibi houk.

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