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I Protested for Bangladesh’s Freedom, Courted Arrest: PM Modi 

Modi attended an event at the National Martyr’s Memorial and the National Day programme in Dhaka.

Updated
India
4 min read

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday, 26 March, arrived in Bangladesh for a two-day tour – his first visit to a foreign country since the COVID-19 outbreak. He was received by Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina from Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka.

PM Modi handed over the Gandhi Peace Prize 2020 to Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's daughters on Friday, saying “It is a matter of pride for Indians that we got the opportunity to honour Sheikh Mujibur Rahman with Gandhi Peace Prize.”

Addressing the National Day Programme in Bangladesh, PM Modi paid tribute to Indians who fought for Bangladesh’s freedom.

What Did PM Modi Say?

“Today I salute the brave soldiers of Indian Army who stood with brothers and sisters of Bangladesh in 'Muktijuddho'. I am happy that many Indian soldiers who participated in Bangladesh Liberation War are present at this event today,” he said, adding that their blood forms an unbreakable relationship between the two nations.

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PM Modi also said that he had participated in protests for Bangladesh’s freedom as a young man of 20-22 years. He said, “Being involved in the struggle for independence of Bangladesh was one of the first movements of my life..I courted arrest for Bangladesh's freedom and even got the opportunity to go to jail."

The PM highlighted that India and Bangladesh have shared a 50-year relationship, and invited 50 entrepreneurs from Bangladesh to visit India and be a part of its start-up and innovation ecosystem and meet Indian venture capitalists.

“I am announcing Swarna Jayanti scholarship for youths of Bangladesh,” he added.

PM Modi also talked about the nations sharing similar goals for the future, and said, “We must remember that we've similar opportunities in fields of trade and commerce, but at the same time, we've similar threats like terrorism. The ideas and powers behind such types of inhumane acts are still active. We must remain vigilant and united to counter them.”

PM Sheikh Hasina expressed gratitude, saying that the country has been besides Bangladesh “in good and bad times.”

She thanked the central government for handing over 109 ambulances to Bangladesh, and also mentioned that India has aided Bangladesh’s vaccination efforts by gifting it vaccines.

On Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, she said, “On this very auspicious moment, I must say India indeed honoured a worthy leader of south Asia and a real follower of Gandhi ji through this award.”

What Did PM Modi Do in Bangladesh?

PM Modi also received a visit from Bangladesh Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen during which the two leaders reflected on deepening the fraternal ties and strengthening their partnership, the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement, according to PTI.

Earlier during the day, PM Modi had attended an event at the National Martyr’s Memorial and the National Day programme in Dhaka, commemorating 50 years of the country’s liberation.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi signs the visitor book at the National Martyr’s Memorial in Savar, on the occasion of 50th Independence Day of Bangladesh, in Dhaka, Friday, March 26, 2021
Prime Minister Narendra Modi signs the visitor book at the National Martyr’s Memorial in Savar, on the occasion of 50th Independence Day of Bangladesh, in Dhaka, Friday, March 26, 2021
(Photo Courtesy: PTI)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s comments on the visitors’ book at the National Martyr’s Memorial in Savar, on the occasion of 50th Independence Day of Bangladesh, in Dhaka, Friday, March 26, 2021
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s comments on the visitors’ book at the National Martyr’s Memorial in Savar, on the occasion of 50th Independence Day of Bangladesh, in Dhaka, Friday, March 26, 2021
(Photo Courtesy: PTI)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi plants Arjuna Tree sapling at Savar, on the occasion of 50th Independence Day of Bangladesh, in Dhaka, Friiday, March 26, 2021 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi plants Arjuna Tree sapling at Savar, on the occasion of 50th Independence Day of Bangladesh, in Dhaka, Friiday, March 26, 2021 
(PTI Photo)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi pays tribute at at the National Martyr�s Memorial in Savar, on the occasion of 50th Independence Day of Bangladesh, in Dhaka, Friiday, March 26, 2021 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi pays tribute at at the National Martyr�s Memorial in Savar, on the occasion of 50th Independence Day of Bangladesh, in Dhaka, Friiday, March 26, 2021 
(PTI Photo)

PM Modi, as reported by NDTV, met Muktijodhas, also known as liberation fighters, on Friday.

He also met with leaders of Opposition from Bangladesh and discussed prominent matters, including bilateral relations between the two neighbours, added the report.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi meets meets political leaders from 14 Party Alliance, during his visit on the occasion of 50th Independence Day of Bangladesh, in Dhaka, Friday, March 26, 2021 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi meets meets political leaders from 14 Party Alliance, during his visit on the occasion of 50th Independence Day of Bangladesh, in Dhaka, Friday, March 26, 2021 
(PTI Photo)

In a statement issued a day ahead of his two-day visit to the country, Modi said he was happy that his first foreign visit will be to “our friendly neighbouring country, with which India shares deep cultural, linguistic and people-to-people ties”.

Bangladesh Thanks India for Vaccine

“PM Modi assured Bangladesh that if India develops vaccine, we will get it at the same time. He kept his word and with this, he has won the hearts, minds of people,” said Bangladesh Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen

However, he added that the focus of this visit was celebration.

“Focus of the visit is celebration. Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina & PM Modi have reached such height of diplomatic maturity that we've been resolving all our critical issues through dialogue & discussion,” said Momen.

PM Modi on Bangladesh Visit

“My visit will not only be an occasion to convey appreciation for Bangladesh’s remarkable economic and developmental strides under Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visionary leadership, but also to commit India’s abiding support for these achievements.”
PM Narendra Modi in a statement

Earlier in the week, India announced the Gandhi Peace Prize 2020 for Bangladeshi leader “Bangabandhu” Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Called the Father of Bangladesh, Rahman was credited for his “immense and unparalleled contribution” in “inspiring the liberation of Bangladesh”.

The Prime Minister’s visit also comes a day before West Bengal is scheduled to start its eight-phase Assembly polls, on 27 March.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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