Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is going to confer honours on around 2,000 Indian soldiers who sacrificed their lives in battles against the Pakistan occupation forces during the Liberation War in 1971, reports The Daily Star
A highly placed source at the Prime Minister’s Office yesterday told The Daily Star that the premier would hand over gifts to the families of the Indian soldiers during her upcoming visit to India early next month.
The gift items are likely to include a crest, a citation, stuffs and some amount of money. The PMO source said the amount to be given to each of the families has yet to be finalised.
During her visit, Hasina would inaugurate the distribution possibly at Delhi Cantonment, the source added.
Dignitaries and high-profile government officials of Bangladesh would later continue conferring the honour in different cantonments across India during their visits to the neighbouring country.
The Indian army would arrange the programmes in phases.
Diplomatic sources said Hasina expressed her interest to her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi during his visit to Bangladesh on June 6-7 last year to honour the families of the slain army men to further cement Bangladesh-India ties and fulfil an unfinished agenda.
Modi accepted Hasina’s plan instantly and agreed to help her honour the family members of the slain Indian soldiers.
The PMO sources said the decision to confer the honour was taken by Hasina herself.
As many as 1,984 Indian army personnel were killed in the war, according to official sources. However, Indian NDTV in a report on December 16, 2011 said around 3,900 Indian soldiers were killed and 9,851 wounded in the war.
The Government of Bangladesh had earlier honoured a large number of foreign friends who made outstanding contributions to the Liberation War. The recipients, majority of them Indians, included heads of state and governments, politicians, top military officials, writers, journalists and singers.
After assuming power, the Awami League-led coalition decided to honour Bangladesh’s foreign friends for their contributions to the country’s independence.
Late prime minister of India Indira Gandhi was given the prestigious Independence Award. Her daughter-in-law Sonia Gandhi received the award on July 25, 2012, on behalf of Indira gandhi.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi received the Award of Liberation War Honour in Bangladesh on behalf of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee during his visit on June 7 last year.