By Sumi Khan
Dhaka, Dec 18 (IANS) Bangladesh on Thursday celebrated its Golden Jubilee of Independence with a Victory Day parade in which President M. Abdul Hamid and his Indian counterpart Ram Nath Kovind were present along with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
Hasina, on “this glorious day of the Bengali nation”, administered an oath to the nation to build the country as a non-communal, developed, prosperous “Sonar Bangla” imbued with the ideology of the Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
“On the occasion of the Golden Jubilee of the independence and the Victory Day in the Mujib Year, I take oath in a glowing voice that I will not let the blood of the martyrs go in vain, I will love the country, I will use all my strength for the overall welfare of the people of the country,” Sheikh Hasina said while taking and administering the oath, requesting the people of the country to join her vow afresh.
Kovind was the lone foreign Head of State to join the celebrations. Dhaka rolled out a red carpet as he arrived on Wednesday on a three-day visit along with his wife and daughter, and a delegation.
Military personnel from India, Russia, and Bhutan also joined the parade, the first-ever participation of foreign troops in the Victory Day ceremony since Bangladesh’s independence, alongside the country’s forces.
The contingents of the three countries took part in the march past while their own military music bands and officers led the troops and saluted the Bangladesh President.
The US and Mexico also sent military observer groups which too took part in the parade.
Twenty three contingents of Bangladesh’s army, navy, air force and paramilitary units, as well as non-military and utility services and ministries, joined the parade.
The armed forces also displayed their defence hardware and weaponary at the ceremony at the National Parade Square alongside the march past and the flypast, when the fighter jets and helicopters displayed their performances in the air.
Army Chief Gen S.M. Shafiuddin Ahmed, Navy Chief Admiral M. Shaheen Iqbal, and Air Force Chief Marshal Shaikh Abdul Hannan accompanied President Hamid during the ceremony while he inspected the parade and then took the salutes of the participating units.
The Bangladesh President will also launch the function as part of the birth centenary celebrations of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. This year, Bangladesh simultaneously celebrates the 50th year of Dhaka-New Delhi diplomatic ties.
This day in 1971, the Pakistan occupation forces surrendered to the Bangladesh-India allied forces at Suhrawardy Udyan in Dhaka.
This year, gala celebrations of the golden jubilee of the country’s victory and the birth centenary of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman have doubled the joy and the enthusiasm of the people.
Marking the occasion, elaborate programmes were drawn up to celebrate the Victory Day. The celebrations began with a 31-gun salute at dawn.
Indian President Kovind and other foreign leaders, PM Sheikh Hasina, President Hamid, political leaders, different socio-cultural organisations, and people from all walks of life placed wreaths at the National Memorial at Savar to pay homage to the war heroes.
Marking the celebrations, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s Birth Centenary Celebration National Implementation Committee has chalked out a two-day special programme titled ‘the Great Hero of the Great Victory’ at the South Plaza of the Jatiya Sangsad.
In the second session of the programme, a discussion will be held with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair. President Abdul Hamid will be present as the chief guest while his Indian counterpart Ram Nath Kovind will be the Guest of Honour at the discussion.
On the occasion, Bangabandhu’s younger daughter Sheikh Rehana will present the “Sraddha Smarak- Mujib Chironton” to the Guest of Honour. On December 17, a cultural function will be organised in the Sangsad Bhaban premises.
By Sumi Khan