Tuesday, 18 January, 2022

December 6: "Maitri Diwas" to reflect deep, abiding friendship between Dhaka, Delhi

December 6:

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Bangladesh and India will commemorate 6th December as "Maitri Diwas" or Friendship Day demonstrating that the emotional bonds stemming from the invaluable contribution of the government and the people of India in the Liberation War of Bangladesh remain a "dominant factor" in formulating Bangladesh-India relations. 

State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam said Bangladesh and India are celebrating together the 50th anniversary of the establishment of Bangladesh-India relations (‘Maitree Diwas’) on December 6 at 18 selected cities across the globe along with Dhaka and New Delhi.

He recalled with utmost respect the brave freedom fighters of Bangladesh and the Indian soldiers who sacrificed their lives for Bangladesh's Independence in 1971.

"The blood of over 18 thousand Indians, mingled with the millions of our own people, culminated in Bangladesh’s independence, and laid the basis of our special friendship," Shahriar said.

Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson at the Indian Minister of External Affairs (MEA) said the Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA) will organise a special event on December 6 in New Delhi. 

The event will see participation from both countries.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will send a video message for the event to be held in New Delhi, an official told.

There will be celebrations in Dhaka too on the occasion. 

"I want to emphasise that the holding of the Maitri Diwas is a reflection of the deep and abiding friendship between the people of India and the people of Bangladesh, that has been forged in blood and shared sacrifices," said Arindam Bagchi.

During the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Bangladesh in March this year, it was decided to commemorate 6th December as "Maitri Diwas."

Just 10 days before the liberation of Bangladesh in 1971, India had recognised Bangladesh on December 6, 1971. 

India was one of the first countries to establish bilateral diplomatic ties with Bangladesh. 

Maitri Diwas has been commemorated in 18 countries around the world apart from Dhaka and New Delhi. 

Other countries are Belgium, Canada, Egypt, Indonesia, Russia, Qatar, Singapore, United Kingdom, Australia, France, Japan, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Switzerland, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates and the United States of America.

Despite challenges in place including unresolved Teesta water sharing issue, Bangladesh and India have made some great achievements, including implementation of the Ganges Treaty, Land Boundary Agreement and addressed the cross-boundary terrorism, foreign affairs analysts say.

The two close neighbours also progressed much in terms of enhanced connectivity and trade though logistics remains a challenge.

Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) Distinguished Fellow Dr Debapriya Bhattacharya in a recent discussion said, "Your agenda and my agenda are equally important. If you think my agenda is more important than the other, then you are not having the equal treatment within a sovereign territory. I hope the leadership (of both the countries) will give content to these concepts.”

Shahriar said last 50 years are testimony, with ample evidence, how crucial Bangladesh-India relations are not only for bilateral partnership and peace, but also for greater regional stability and the development of the subcontinent.

"It’s my firm conviction that, last 50 years will guide us to navigate the course of next 50 years in the evolving scenario of the regional and global context, where the friendship and partnership would be deeper and more consolidated," he said.