AGARTALA December 16, 2018 (IANS):
Tripura observed the 47th anniversary of Vijay Diwas by paying tributes to Indian soldiers who made the supreme sacrifice during the 1971 India- Pakistan war, resulting in the creation of Bangladesh. Vijay Diwas is celebrated every year to mark the victory of the Indian Army over the Pakistan Army.
The signing of the Instrument of Surrender by Pakistani forces’ Eastern Command Chief Lt Gen A.A.K. Niazi on December 16, 1971, in Dhaka brought the war for the liberation of Bangladesh to an end.
Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb paid tributes to the valiant personnel of the Armed Forces at the war memorial here in the heart of the city on Sunday.
The army and the Assam Rifles also paid homage at Shahid Smarak at Lichu Bagan on the outskirts of the city. Army officers and soldiers of the Agartala Military Station and ex-servicemen of Tripura took part in the commemorative event.
After paying tributes to the martyrs, Deb said that Tripura had a great role in the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War as the people of the state whole-heartedly supported the “Mukti Yudhya” (liberation war).
“The friendship between India-Bangladesh has deepened further in recent years with both leaders, especially Prime Minister Narendra Modi taking special initiatives to strengthen ties in all spheres,” the Chief Minister told the media.
Researcher and writer Manas Paul said, “The Indian Army, accompanied by the people of the then East Pakistan, fought the war most effectively, decisively and protected the sovereignty of both present day Bangladesh and India.”
He underscored the valiant sacrifices made by officers and soldiers of the Indian Army, specially Lance Naik Albert Ekka (of Jharkhand) in the 1971 war.
The Border Security Force exchanged greetings with their counterparts in the Border Guards of Bangladesh.
The Bangladesh Assistant High Commission organised discussions, cultural programmes and a get-together. The day-long celebrations are taking place in the mission complex.
“Besides cultural programmes performed by Indian and Bangladeshi artists, seminars and discussions are being held to commemorate the historic Bangladesh Liberation War and the incredible victory ” said Bangladesh’s Assistant High Commissioner Kiriti Chakma, who joined the Assistant High Commission here earlier this month.
According to defence analysts, the 1971 war comprised two major operations — Operation Cactus Lily and Operation Nut Cracker — and 57 Mountain Division was actively involved in both operations with fire power support from 57 Mountain Artillery Brigade.
“Both operations progressed from Agartala westwards towards Dhaka. The war finally culminated on December 16, 1971 with the unconditional surrender of 93,000 Pakistani soldiers. Lt Gen Jagjit Singh Arora, Maj Gen (Retd) Ian Cardozo, Lt Arun Khetrapal, Lance Naik Albert Ekka are a few of our war heroes,” the analysts said.
“Agartala city played an important role as the bordering city was the launch pad for the main offensive into Bangladesh. Local residents of Tripura played a huge role by providing support to the Indian Army.”
The Tripura government has developed a gigantic memorial and park at the border village Chottakhola — 132 km south of Agartala — in memory of the Indian soldiers and Bangladeshi freedom fighters who sacrificed their lives during the 1971 Liberation War.
Former Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar last year inaugurated the park and memorial, which was built on 20.20 hectares of land over an eight-year period and at a cost of Rs 7 crore (over $1 million).
Statues of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and the founder of Bangladesh, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, have also been installed at the memorial and the park, which was developed jointly by at least 10 departments of the Tripura government, with the Forest Department as the nodal agency.
India was the first country to recognise Bangladesh as a sovereign nation.