"India Our True Friend": Sheikh Hasina On 1971 War At Summit With PM Modi

At the virtual summit with Sheikh Hasina, PM Modi said Bangladesh is a "key pillar" of India's "Neighbourhood First" policy.

'India Our True Friend': Sheikh Hasina On 1971 War At Summit With PM Modi

PM Modi and Sheikh Hasina addressed a virtual summit.

New Delhi:

India is our true friend," the country's Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, thanking India for its support during 1971 Bangladesh liberation war. Ms Hasina was addressing a virtual summit with Prime Minister Narendra Modi a day after  the 50th anniversary of India's win over Pakistan in the 1971 war that lead to the birth of Bangladesh as an independent nation.

"India is our true friend," Ms Hasina said. "I pay deep homage to the three million martyrs who laid down their lives. I pay tribute to the members of the Indian armed forces martyred in the war and to their families. I pay my gratitude to the government and the people of India who extended their whole hearted support for the cause of our nation," she said.

PM Modi said Bangladesh is a "key pillar" of India's "Neighbourhood First" policy.

"We feel proud to celebrate "Bijoy Dibosh" with you to mark Bangladesh's victory over anti-liberation forces," PM Modi said.

He also thanked his Bangladeshi counterpart for inviting him for a visit to the neighbouring nation next year where he said that "it would be an honour" to pay tribute "to the martyrs".

"It has been key priority for me to strengthen ties with Bangladesh," he said.

After facing defeat in the 1971 war, the then Army Chief of Pakistan General Amir Abdullah Khan Niazi, along with his 93,000 troops, surrendered to Indian forces.

At the virtual summit, India and Bangladesh also sealed seven agreements to expand cooperation in diverse areas, and restored a cross-border rail link which was in operation till 1965. PM Modi and Ms Hasina jointly inaugurated a digital exhibition on Mahatama Gandhi and Bangladesh's founder.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh paid rich tributes to the 1971 war heroes. PM Modi lit a "Swarnim Vijay Mashaal" - a victory torch -  at the eternal flame of the National War Memorial in Delhi.

(With inputs from PTI)