Ahead of his two-day visit to Bangladesh to take part in Bangladesh National Day Celebrations on March 26, Prime Minister Narendra Modi penned an article remembering Bangladesh’s ‘Father of Nation’ and its first President Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Rahman who had also been the Prime Minister of Bangladesh was popularly called ‘Bangabandhu’ by the people of Bangladesh. He was among the people who led the liberation struggle of Bangladesh. He along with his family was brutally assassinated on August 15, 1975, in a military coup. However, his two daughters-Sheikh Hasina, the current PM of Bangladesh, and Sheikh Rehana survived as they were visiting Germany at that time.
Bangabandhu was admired by people of India as well: PM Modi
Remembering Bangabandhu, PM Modi wrote about the struggles faced by Bangabandhu in his efforts to realise his dream of building a “cooperative, peaceful, and harmonious subcontinent”. Admiring Bangabandhu, PM Modi wrote how the qualities of his character endeared him to the people of India as well. “It was this rare combination of deep-seated belief in his own ideals, and yet the openness of mind to accept a different opinion, that made Bangabandhu one of the greatest statesmen of our times. It endeared Bangabandhu to the people of India as well”, PM Modi wrote.
In the article, PM Modi imagined how the fate of Bangladesh and its relations with India would have been different from what they are now if Bangabandhu had lived. He said that had Bangabandhu been alive, India and Bangladesh would have achieved some of the recently-made accomplishments years ago. “I am sure that with his visionary world-view, Bangabandhu would have dared to dream something even bigger for our subcontinent. With the spirit of Liberation War energising us, and with Bangabandhu as the guiding star, this region, at least the Bay of Bengal area, might have been in a different reality now”, PM Modi said.
A closely integrated economic region could have been built between India and Bangladesh if Bangabandhu was alive: PM Modi
PM Modi said that in Bangabandhu’s presence India and Bangladesh could have built a “closely integrated economic region with deeply interlinked value chains”. “We could have created inter-governmental structures to maximise the economic, scientific and strategic benefits of a community of hundreds of millions of people”, the Prime Minister wrote. “We could have joined our maritime capacities-from fisheries to offshore mineral resource exploration-to propel rapid economic growth in and around the world’s biggest Bay: the Bay of Bengal”, he added.
India and Bangladesh have been able to solve their complex issues amicably: PM Modi
Expressing hope for a better future for the relations of India and Bangladesh, PM Modi pointed out how the two countries have been able to resolve complex issues amicably. “Our land and maritime boundaries stand settled. We have substantial cooperation covering almost all aspects all human endeavour. Our trade has reached historic levels, aiding economic activities in each other’s countries”, PM Modi said.
PM Modi pointed out how the two countries have made good progress in the area of connectivity. He said that India and Bangladesh are in the process of implementing an arrangement for Indian cargo to reach northeastern states through Bangladesh. He told that the countries are making efforts to operationalise inland waterways that would allow Bangladeshi goods to reach Varanasi and Sahibganj. The Prime Minister expressed the belief that the two countries are striving towards “a destiny that the Liberation of Bangladesh had once augured for our region”.