Bangladesh as a country has an age old history fraught with struggle for independence, first from the British when it was part of India and later from Pakistan after partition. In 1971, Lt. Gen. Amir Abdullah Khan Niazi, had gathered along with 93000 Pakistani military troops but willingly surrendered to the Indian Army under the leadership of Lt. Gen. Jagjit Singh Aurora in Dhaka. That marked the end of the war wherein East Pakistan was liberated and came to be known as Bangladesh. Even today, as the nation celebrates the 50th anniversary of the liberation war, a panoply of military items belonging to Bangladesh Armed Forces grace the country’s revered museums. The display reminds the countrymen of the valour, pride and indomitable spirit of Bangladeshis who braved all challenges to attain independence fifty years back.
IAF PRO Wing Commander Ratnakar Singh spoke about the tanks kept in the museum of Shillong which are not just for viewing but also instill a sense of gratitude towards all the armed forces who had suffered and sacrificed their lives on the altar of the nation’s independence.
“A Vijyant Battle (tank), used during the Indo-Pak war in 1971, has been placed in a Rhino Heritage Museum, Shillong,as homage to the brave souls and also to remember their contribution to Bangladesh’s war of independence. The War Trophy (tank) has been moved over a distance of 3,600 km from New Delhi to Shillong under the aegis of HQ 101 Area, and is now standing majestically at the busiest crossroad of Shillong as a tribute to the valour and spirit of Indian Army in protecting the sovereignty of their neighboring nation. The tank was put to service in 1966 and eventually phased out in 2004,” shares Wing Commander Singh in an interesting raconteur.
When asked about the significance ofthe water tanks he adds, “It reminds us of the massive victory of Indian Army in the 1971 war , where over 93000 troops of the Pakistan Army surrendered unconditionally. This remains a first and only occurrence in the history of any war till today. Secondly, it instills a sense of pride among our citizens and invokesfaith and confidence in the capability of the Armed Forces in defending the sovereignty of our nation. Lastly, it shows the strength of our Armed Forces and establishes them as one of the best in the world who are ready to take on any challenge be it external aggression or internal disorder. Besides. the tanks are glorious testimony to the fact that our armed forces will always remain the first line of defence and last bastion standing.”
As Bangladesh celebrates her 50thanniversary, the memories of the armed forces and their gallantry during the war of liberation come alive in the memories of the people living on both sides of the border.
Salute brave hearts!