A friend in need is a friend indeed. India has always been a friend in need for Bangladesh. In March 25, 1971 at midnight, when the Pakistani Army cracked down upon the innocent people of Bangladesh as part of their plan (the operation search light which was described as scorched earth tactics, meaning, they didn’t want to leave anything alive in the then East Pakistan now Bangladesh) to wipe out the Bangladeshi legacy and just at that time India came to our salvation. Not only that, India fought till the Pakistani Army was compelled to surrender and an independent Bangladesh came into being. We are never hesitant to say that India has saved us and helped achieve our independent Bangladesh at the cost of lives and blood of the Indian Army.
So the Bangladesh-India relation is written with the blood of Martyrs. Thousands of Indian soldiers together with hundreds of thousands of people of Bangladesh had laid down their lives just for the cause of creating an independent and sovereign Bangladesh.
More than three million innocent people and more than two hundred thousand young women sacrificed their lives and virtue respectively. Seventeen thousand Indian army soldiers had been killed in the Liberation War of Bangladesh. More than ten million people took shelter in neighboring India and equipped themselves with the latest arms and ammunitions, the Bangladesh Freedom Fighters, with help of Indian army and fought a tremendous battle against Pakistan which was actually a befitting reply against the genocide launched against innocent people of Bangladesh by the Pakistani army.
When the next generation youth of the two nations
will conduct research on the creation of Bangladesh
and the cause of India–Pakistan war in 1971, they not
only will find that the cooperation India provided to the
people of Bangladesh was absolutely on humanitarian grounds,
but also they will learn about the immense risk India
took for Bangladesh waging war against Pakistan
The India-Pakistan war formally started on 3 December when Pakistan attacked India without provocation. At that time Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was addressing a mammoth rally in West Bengal. She rushed to Delhi right away and sat with the top generals and national policy framers and officially declared war against Pakistan on 6 December and before that India officially gave recognition to Bangladesh as an independent and sovereign country. Following that the great Kingdom of Bhutan announced her recognition and provided complete support for the creation of Bangladesh as a sovereign and independent nation.
The war lasted for just 13 days, and was one of the shortest wars in history. The military confrontation between India and Pakistan occurred from 3 December 1971 to the fall of Dacca (Dhaka) on 16 December 1971. Pakistan Army had an ignoble surrender to the joint forces of Bangladesh and India. The Indian Army brought the Pakistani army to its knees, took 93,000 Pakistani prisoners of war and gave 75 million people of Bangladesh their independence.
The then Indian Prime Minister Srimoti Indira Gandhi without a moment’s hesitation came up with all sorts of help to salvage the Bengalese who were supposed to die. India has saved us all. Not only that India helped us achieve independence, Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, who left no stone unturned to bring back Bangabandhu from captivity in Pakistan, was moving all over the world, and had talks to global leaders so that the Pakistani butchers couldn’t kill our beloved leader, father of the nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and that is why Bengalese will never forget Indira Gandhi. Bangladesh-India relationship is entwined together through our existence and history of losing lives and shedding blood for one another which has transformed into an everlasting bond.
The present perspective says that had Bangladesh not become independent it would have never got that chance to become a sovereign nation. Moreover, Bangladesh is lucky in a sense that if it had been East Pakistan till date, it would have been identified as a rogue state like Pakistan. Bangladesh is moving forward and Pakistan is locked in a battle of self destruction. The independent Bangladesh has brought about an immense opportunity to get on to the super highway of development. A golden future is waiting for the people of Bangladesh as an independent nation.
When the next generation youth of the two nations will conduct research on the creation of Bangladesh and the cause of India–Pakistan war in 1971, they not only will find that the cooperation India provided to the people of Bangladesh was absolutely on humanitarian grounds, but also they will learn about the immense risk India took for Bangladesh waging war against Pakistan.
So the reality is Bangladesh would not have been created without the help of India.
Sharif Shahab Uddin is