Dhaka: Security has been beefed up here
ahead of a key visit of Congress party president Sonia Gandhi
to receive Bangladesh`s highest state award on behalf of
former Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi for her outstanding
contribution to the country`s 1971 `Liberation War`.
Bangladesh has taken steps to ensure maximum security
for the visit, officials said today.
The elite Special Security Force (SSF) alongside the
anti-crime Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) personnel and the
regular police force would enforce the security while a
special squad of India’s Special Protection Group (SPG) was
already in the capital to ensure foolproof security system,
a senior police officer said.
Security forces will leave "no stone unturned" to
ensure her protection, he said.
Sonia, who will arrive in Dhaka on Monday on a two-day
visit at the invitation of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, will
also be the chief guest at the inaugural function of a
five-day conference on `Autism Spectrum Disorders and
Developmental Disabilities in Bangladesh and South Asia` on
Analysts here believe that the tour will boost
Indo-Bangla ties ahead of the scheduled visit of Prime
Minister Manmohan Singh in September.
Earlier, Foreign Minister Dipu Moni told reporters
that Bangladesh was "looking forward to the visit of Sonia
"She is a family member of Indira Gandhi who was our
great friend during our war for freedom, the President of
Congress and the chairperson of UPA," Moni said.
Earlier this week, the cabinet decided to confer the
country`s highest state honour, `Bangladesh Swadhinata
Sanmanona` on the assassinated Indian Prime Minister for her
outstanding contribution to the country`s independence.
The Congress president will receive the award from
President Zillur Rahman on July 25 at a special ceremony in
the presidential palace.
The late Indian premier traveled across the world to
mobilise support for the people of East Pakistan, which later
became Bangladesh, amid a massive crackdown on civilians by
the Pakistan Army.
On March 26, 1971, Bangladesh - then East Pakistan -
declared its independence from West Pakistan. The Pakistan
Army surrendered to the allied forces of the Indian army and
the Mukti Bahini on 16 December 1971, which resulted in
Bangladesh becoming an independent nation.
The government also plans to rechristen an important
road in the memory of the former Indian Prime Minister.
A separate monument would also be built to honour
Indian defence personnel martyred in the 1971 war.
The government has shortlisted 47 "foreign friends"
and five organisations to be honoured in December for their
contribution to Bangladesh`s freedom struggle.