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PM Modi Meets Political and Community Leaders, Pays Homage to Martyrs of Bangladesh War of Independence

PM Narendra Modi engages with opposition leaders of Bangladesh. (Image: Twitter/@MEAIndia)

PM Narendra Modi engages with opposition leaders of Bangladesh. (Image: Twitter/@MEAIndia)

PM Modi met political leaders from the ruling Grand Alliance and discussed diverse issues on bilateral relations.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday met the political and the community leaders in Dhaka, including representatives of minorities and ‘Mukhtijoddhas’ — the fighters of the Bangladesh Liberation War. According to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), Modi met political leaders from the ruling Grand Alliance during which they discussed diverse issues on bilateral relations to strengthen ties between the two nations. “Engaging the Bangladeshi political leadership across the spectrum! PM @narendramodi meets political leaders from 14 Party Alliance along with convener,” the MEA tweeted, sharing a picture of the meeting.

Tweeting another picture of the prime minister with the opposition leaders, it said, “Continuing dialogue with the entire political spectrum! PM @narendramodi engages opposition leaders of Bangladesh and discusses a wide gamut of issues on our bilateral relations.” In a statement, the MEA said as part of his two-day visit to Bangladesh, Modi met the community leaders, including Representatives of Minorities in Bangladesh, Bangladeshi Mukhtijoddhas, Friends of India and Youth Icons.

Earlier in the day, PM Modi visited the National Martyr’s memorial at Savar and paid homage to those who sacrificed their lives in the 1971 Bangladesh War of Independence against Pakistan. “I pay my heartfelt tribute to the patriotic martyrs of Bangladesh whose glorious sacrifices enabled the birth of this great Nation. May every visitor to this revered ground honour the sacred memory of the millions who were slain but not silenced. Their valour will continue to inspire future generations to fight injustice and defend the cause of righteousness,” Modi wrote in the visitor’s book at the memorial.

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On behalf of the people of India, I pray that the eternal flame at Savar remains a lasting reminder of the noble victory of truth and courage over deceit and oppression, he wrote. Army bugles played the Last Post as the Bangladesh national flag was hoisted at half mast in a ceremonial manner as Prime Minister Modi stood in solemn silence in front of the memorial as a mark of respect to the martyrs after placing a wreath.

Designed by Syed Mainul Hossain, the memorial at Savar, about 35 km north-west of Dhaka, comprises seven pairs of triangular-shaped walls — each representing a significant chapter in Bangladesh’s history, including the 1952 ‘Bhasha Andolan’ (Language Movement) — through which Bangladesh became an independent nation from Pakistan. On reaching the memorial, Modi planted a sapling of the Arjuna tree “to commemorate sacrifices of the patriotic martyrs of Bangladesh”, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) tweeted.

“This sapling has been planted as a mark of respect for the valorous martyrs of Bangladesh,” the Prime Minister’s Office tweeted. In another tweet, the PMO said, in the same complex, the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had also planted a sapling during his Bangladesh visit in 1999. Vajpayee had planted a sapling of Cape jasmine that time.

Sharing a picture of Modi laying the wreath at the memorial, the Ministry of External Affairs tweeted, “Prime Minister @narendramodi paying solemn tribute at the National Martyr’s Memorial to the brave-hearts of the Liberation War of Bangladesh, for their great sacrifices.”

Modi is on a two-day visit to Dhaka. During his visit, he will attend the celebrations of the golden jubilee of the country’s independence, the birth centenary of Bangabandhu’ Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and hold talks with his counterpart Sheikh Hasina. Modi, who is visiting Bangladesh on his first trip to a foreign country since the outbreak of the coronavirus, was received by Prime Minister Hasina at Dhaka’s Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport upon his arrival.

A salute of 19 guns and Guard of honour were accorded to Prime Minister Modi at the airport.

first published:March 26, 2021, 16:08 IST