Targets Pakistan over atrocities in Bangladesh, says PM Narendra Modi ‘with us’
One of the main highlights of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit to India has been her campaign to declare March 25 as an International Genocide Day to make the world recall large scale atrocities perpetrated by Pakistan in Bangladesh in 1971 when Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibar Rahman had launched a struggle for Liberation.
At a reception hosted by the India Foundation in New Delhi the Prime Minister recalled how more than three million people were killed and over two million women were violated by the Army of Pakistan in 1971. People of India and its government had supported us wholeheartedly during the War of Liberation in 1971.
She said the Bangladesh Parliament recently adopted a resolution for declaring March 25 as Genocide Day, to which even Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a commitment to lend India’s support.
Addressing the gathering which included former Deputy Prime Minister LK Advani and Union Minister
Nirmala Sitharaman, the Bangladesh
Prime Minister harped on the Indo-Bangladesh relations, which, she said, were based on mutuality of interests and common aspirations.
“We have a very special relationship with India. The relationship is the friendliest. Friendship of Bangladesh and India is in our hearts and this bond would remain firm and long-lasting”, she said amid applause.
The relationship between the two countries, she said, thrives on “peoples’ solidarity and our deep emotional,
cultural and historic bonds”.
Hasina, however, regretted that the threat of terrorism in the region had become a major challenge. “Our journey to peace and prosperity is put to peril by the rise of terrorism and violent extremism”. Talking about its
ramifications she said “Our efforts to integrat our economies and societies have been undermined by the security threats from state and non-state actors”. We would need more concerted efforts to strengthen protection of our societies.
The two countries have amicably settled Land Boundary and Maritime Boundary issues for which she complimented leaders of all political parties in India and the members of the Parliament.
She said power sector cooperation between the two countries has been a high point of the relationship. “We are importing electricity from India through grid-interconnection. We are also
collaborating in other sectors of energy and identifying hydro-power projects in Bhutan and Nepal for joint development and import of power to Bangladesh across the Indian territory.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina also talked on the Teesta river issue and said, “We strongly believe our common water resources must act as a uniting force… comprehensive, basin-wide solution with an inbuilt solution to water sharing of all common rivers holds key to our common future. On Teesta issue, PM Narendra Modi once again reiterated his government’s strong resolve to conclude the water sharing treaty at the soonest. Once it happens, the face of Indo-Bangladesh relations would undergo another transformation.”
Advani said Hasina had provided “exemplary leadership” to Bangladesh. He said the Indo-Bangladesh friendship was special in many ways and it was time India should have similar kind of relations with other neighbouring
countries as well.
Nirmala Sitharaman said Sheikh Hasina is a true friend in the real sense. “She might look soft, but is like steel within with firm convictions”.
Earlier, Jayant Sinha, Director of the Foundation, welcomed the chief guest.