Defence minister’s first-ever visit ‘strengthened fraternal ties’ with Bangladesh armed forces: India

Manohar Parrikar left Dhaka on Thursday, ending a two-day visit during which he called on President Md Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, among others.

He also held talks with the security adviser to the prime minister on defence cooperation. The chiefs of the Bangladesh army, navy and air Force, director general coast guard and the principal staff officer to the armed forces division also called on the Indian minister.

The Indian High Commission after his departure issued a statement, saying the visit had taken place against the backdrop of the recent settlement of the land and maritime boundaries and increased exchanges between the defence forces of the two countries.

“The visit is also the first by the Defence Minister to any of India’s immediate neighbours and is indicative of the importance the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi places on its relationship with Bangladesh,” the statement noted.

The defence minister proposed a number of “new initiatives” to enhance the capacity and capability endeavours of the Bangladesh armed forces.

He conveyed India’s full support to the vision of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to achieve self reliance as articulated by the Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

A range of initiatives for enhancing training engagements, conduct of joint exercises, HADR activities and ‘Blue Economy’ initiatives were discussed.

During his call on with the prime minister, he conveyed greetings on behalf of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

He said the prime minister of India was looking forward to the visit of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to India.

The defence minister presented the airframe of an Allouette Helicopter to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

This helicopter was one of the three aircraft that formed part of ‘Kilo’ flight, which was raised at Dimapur in 1971 with the support of the Indian air force.

It was the first fighting formation of a nascent Bangladesh air force raised during the Liberation War.

The Indian minister highlighted the role of the valiant Bangladeshi pilots who carried out multiple missions against all odds from these aircraft and accounted for the destruction of a large number of enemy assets during the War.

The airframe was flown to Dhaka two days earlier by an IL 76 aircraft of the Indian air force.

The airframe was gifted for the purpose of display at the new premises of the Liberation War Museum at Agargaon.

The Indian minister was accompanied by the vice chiefs of the army and air force, deputy chief of navy, director general of coast guard and senior defence ministry officials.

During his visit, he also paid homage to the martyrs of the Liberation War at Shikha Anirban in Dhaka cantonment and inspected a tri-service guard of honour.

His delegation also visited the Bangladesh Military Academy in Chittagong.

Source: Bd news24

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