INDIA’s President Ram Nath Kovind will embark on a three-day State visit to Bangladesh, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said on Tuesday.
The visit is in the context of the 50th Victory Day celebrations in Dhaka which Bangladesh President Abdul Hamid has invited Kovind to represent India as a guest of honour. Addressing a special briefing here, Foreign Secretary Shringla said, “Beginning tomorrow, President Kovind will be paying a State visit to Bangladesh. The visit will be from 15-17 Dec. This visit is in context of 50th Victory Day celebrations in Dhaka at which Bangladesh Pres has invited President Kovind to represent India as a guest of honour.”
President Kovind will be accompanied by the Minister of State for Education Dr. Subhas Sarkar and a Member of Parliament Rajdeep Roy.
“This visit is of great historical significance. The year 2021 commemorates the Golden Jubilee of Bangladesh’s independence. It commemorates 50 years of the establishment of diplomatic relations between our two countries. It also commemorates the great victory over the Pakistani army and their unconditional surrender to our joint forces, the forces of Indian armed forces and Bangladesh’s forces on the 16th of December 1971,” he said.
Highlighting that the upcoming visit would be the first visit of President Kovind to Bangladesh since the COVID-19 outbreak, Shringla said that it signifies the importance that both countries attach to the bilateral ties.
“Bangladesh inviting our President to be the guest of honour on this occasion to join to commemorate this event at which he is the only foreign dignitary who will be represented. At the same time, our president going out for the first time since the COVID pandemic is also very significant,” Shringla said.
The foreign Secretary recalled that the previous presidential visit from India to Bangladesh was undertaken by Pranab Mukherjee in 2013.
President Kovind’s visit to Bangladesh has several significant elements which reflect the strength of the India-Bangladesh partnership.
During the visit, Kovind will hold a delegation-level meeting with his Bangladesh counterpart. “Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and foreign minister AK Abdul Momen will also call on the President,” he further said. After that, Kovind will attend a banquet to be hosted by President Hamid.
Shringla noted that in the morning President Kovind will pay tribute at the National Martyrs Memorial in Savar.
“The Pakistani army in its genocidal campaign during the nine-month struggle for liberation killed three million people and committed horrific atrocities. And the memorial honours, those who died and suffered during this 1971 period,” he said.
President Kovind will also visit the Bangabandhu Memorial Museum to pay respect to the memory of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the father of the nation.
“On the forenoon of 16th of December, Kovind will attend the Victory Day parade at the National Parade ground as a guest of honour. The parade includes a 122-member tri-service contingent from the Indian armed forces. Again, this is very unique and very special,” he said.
Foreign Secretary continued saying that India stood shoulder to shoulder with the people of Bangladesh during the struggle. Millions of Bangladeshis found shelter and refuge in India. “We recognize Bangladesh as an independent country is the second in the world to do so. Before it became free from the oppression that was there, It was an article of faith for us and a statement of our support for the righteousness of Bangladesh’s cause,” he stated.
Shringla said that Kovind’s program includes interaction with ‘Mukti Jodhas’ – Bangladeshis who took up arms and fought to free their country, along with our armed forces. “There’ll also be a delegation of Indian veterans who will be in Bangladesh at that time. They too will call on President Kovind.”
President Kovind is scheduled to depart for Delhi on December 17. (ANI)