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India, Bangladesh share emotional bonding: Lt Gen Rana Pratap Kalita

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KOLKATA, Dec 15: Eastern army commander Lt General Rana Pratap Kalita on Friday said India and Bangladesh have an emotional bonding along with historical and geographical linkages.

The general officer commanding-in-chief of the Eastern Army Command also said the two countries are working together for the development of Bangladesh as a prosperous nation.

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“India and Bangladesh have not only historical and geographical linkages; I think we have more of emotional linkages,” he said.

Kalita was addressing ‘Mukti Jodhas’ (liberation warriors) of Bangladesh and Indian armed forces’ veterans of the 1971 India-Pakistan war, during a function at Fort William here.

On the eve of Vijay Divas on December 16, the army commander said this emotional bond has been brought about because the two countries celebrated victory together in 1971, and also suffered together during the run up to the battle.

“The tremendous loss suffered by the people of Bangladesh as also the Indian armed forces brings us closer as far as this emotional connect is concerned; that is what binds us together,” he said.

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A 30-member delegation of the ‘Mukti Jodhas’ and serving officers of the Bangladesh Army are in Kolkata as guests of the Eastern Command to attend a function to mark the anniversary of the 1971 war victory on December 16, and to pay respects to those who laid down their lives in the battle.

To the delight of the ‘Mukti Jodhas’ and their families, Kalita greeted the guests in chaste Bengali.

Describing the Vijay Diwas as one of the major events of the Eastern Command and the Indian Army, he said, “The epic victory of 1971 war epitomises great determination, courage and sacrifices that were made by the brave ‘Mukti Jodhas’ as also all the members of the Indian armed forces.”

As an eight-year-old boy in a place north of Assam’s Guwahati during the 1971 war, Kalita recalled the frequent air raid warnings with sirens blaring.

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“I think I contributed to my house by pasting black papers on the window panes so that lights could not be seen outside; I think that was my only contribution to the 1971 war,” he said, after hearing the battle accounts and war experiences of the veterans of the Indian armed forces and the ‘Mukti Jodhas’.

Lt Gen Dr J S Cheema (retd) of the Indian Army said that Bangladesh at present has a much higher GDP than Pakistan from which it won independence, and it is emerging as an Asian power like Japan.

Kaji Zainul Abedin, one of the ‘Mukti Jodhas’ who spoke on the occasion, said Pakistan’s rulers never accepted the Bengalis in East Pakistan as their countrymen.

“They (Indians) helped us not only because of humanity, but because they thought we were their brothers; we are the same race,” Abedin said, recalling the camaraderie between the people of the two countries. (PTI)

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