India thanks B'desh for honouring 1971 heroes



New Delhi: India and thanked Dhaka for its decision to honour Indian nationals and groups for their role in the 1971 war that led to the birth of Bangladesh.

External Affairs Minister SM Krishna has written to his Bangladeshi counterpart Dipu Moni, expressing the government's sentiments.

Krishna said the "cause of liberation of Bangladesh has been very close to our hearts, and the government and the people of India have been extremely proud of their association with the historic liberation war".

According to official sources, Krishna said the Bangladeshi initiative would "further strengthen the friendship" between the people of the two countries.

This will also have a significant impact in preserving memories in the mind of the young and in educating future generations, he wrote.

Last year, Bangladesh conferred the Bangladesh Freedom of Honour posthumously on Indira Gandhi, who was prime minister when Pakistan and India fought the 1971 war.

Last week, Bangladesh honoured a host of Indians and Indian organisations for their contribution to the 1971 war which included, among others, Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw, Lt Gen Jagjit Singh Aurora, Lt Gen JFR Jacob and Arundhati Ghose.

Bangladesh celebrated its 41st independence day Monday with rich tributes to war heroes.

On March 26, 1971, the people of then East Pakistan began a military campaign against Pakistani armed forces following largescale killings of civilians opposed to Islamabad.

The civil war led to the eventual India-Pakistan war in December 1971, leading to the break-up of Pakistan and the birth of Bangladesh.

On Monday, Bangladesh President Zillur Rahman, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and opposition leader Khaleda Zia laid wreaths at the National Monument at Savar, some 30 km north of capital Dhaka.

IANS