Maitri Diwas celebrations were organised at the India Pavilion in Expo 2020 Dubai on Tuesday (All images courtesy: Ministry of External Affairs and Bangladesh High Commission in New Delhi)
The first India-Bangladesh 'Maitri Diwas' celebrations continue to be organised not only in Delhi and Dhaka but also in 18 other cities all over the world.
December 6, 1971 marked the recognition of an independent and sovereign Bangladesh, by India and Bhutan, 50 years ago – 10 days before Bangladesh was actually liberated.
Governments of both the countries organised a number of programmes to celebrate 'Moitri Dibosh', also marking the 50th anniversary of India-Bangladesh diplomatic relationship.
The Indian Council for World Affairs (ICWA), a renowned think tank of the Indian Ministry of External Affairs arranged a seminar in New Delhi to reminisce on the historical and eventful ties of 50 years between India and Bangladesh.
A six-minute video message sent by Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, where she mentioned the historical aspects of Delhi-Dhaka friendly relationship, was also played on the occasion.
According to Shaban Mahmood, the Press Minister of the Bangladesh High Commission in New Delhi, country's former Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu, Minister of State K M Khaled, High Commissioner Mohammad Imran along with India's Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla and ICWA Director General Vijay Thakur Singh also spoke on the occasion.
The Bangladesh High Commission in Delhi also hosted a reception for the 20 Indian Army war veterans who fought for Bangladesh independence in 1971.
In Dhaka, a reception and musical evening was hosted by the High Commission of India at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre. Senior representatives from the government of Bangladesh including cabinet ministers, members of parliament, the chief of the army staff, secretaries to the government, leaders of business and industry, were also present during the event.
Bangladeshi nationals selected for India’s highest civilian honours, in 2020 and 2021, were also specially invited and felicitated as 50 eminent artists, including from India and Bangladesh, performed on the occasion.
The High Commission of India in Ottawa, in association with the local High Commission of Bangladesh, celebrated ‘Maitree Diwas’ by organising an event at the prestigious Ottawa Art Gallery which was attended by the Canadian Members of Parliament, members of the diplomatic corps in Ottawa, officials from the government of Canada, friends of India and Bangladesh and prominent Canadians of Indian and Bangladeshi heritage.
Welcoming the guests, the High Commissioner of Bangladesh, Khalilur Rahman spoke of the gratitude that Bangladesh and its people held for the role played by India in their freedom struggle and liberation. He also highlighted the multifaceted dimensions of the contemporary Bangladesh-India relationship.
Indian High Commissioner Ajay Bisaria, in his address, traced the larger geopolitical context of the struggle and said that the people of India and Bangladesh shared deep ties of culture and people-to-people relationship and the contemporary partnership is focused on development partnership and growth.
A photographic exhibition capturing some important events from Bangladesh’s freedom struggle and the Liberation War of 1971, mounted jointly by the two High Commissions, was well appreciated by the guests. A film on the launch of ‘Raga Maitree’ and other videos showcasing the growth-oriented partnership between India and Bangladesh were also screened.
‘Maitri Diwas’ was also celebrated in Bangkok on Tuesday with the Embassy of India and Embassy of Bangladesh holding a joint reception at a prominent hotel in the capital of Thailand.
Chulamanee Chartsuwan, Deputy Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kingdom of Thailand graced the occasion as chief guest. Ambassador of India to Thailand Suchitra Durai and Ambassador of Bangladesh to Thailand Mohammed Abdul Hye, along with 50 high level dignitaries representing the Thai parliament, diplomatic corps, businesses, community members, and media attended the reception.
The celebration included two cultural performances highlighting the cultural linkages between India and Bangladesh.
A photo exhibition showcasing 50 years of diplomatic relations between India and Bangladesh, shared cultural links, development projects, connectivity and Bangladesh Liberation War was also organised on the sidelines of the reception.
In Dubai, the celebrations of 'Maitri Diwas' were organised at the India Pavilion in Expo 2020 Dubai on Tuesday. The Consul Generals of India and Bangladesh also joined the celebrations.
The golden jubilee of Bangladesh's Independence and 50th Anniversary of India-Bangladesh friendship was also celebrated in Paris with the Embassies of India and France jointly commemorating the ties forged in shared struggle, common values, heritage and partnership for security and prosperity in the new age.
In London, a gala reception was hosted by the High Commission of India and Bangladesh jointly to celebrate the occasion.
Paying homage to the martyrs of the Liberation War and Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Bangladesh High Commissioner Saida Muna Tasneem recalled the invaluable support that the Indian government extended to Bangladesh in 1971.
"The value-based friendship between our peoples and our soils, the 54-common rivers, the love, affection and common emotions that connect our two nations and the messages of peace, Ahimsa (or nonviolence) and humanity propagated by Fathers of our two Nations Mahatma Gandhi and Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman will take our Bangladesh-India maitree to even newer height in the decades to come," said Tasneem.