Freedom fighters to get 5-yr Indian multiple visas, says Modi
New Delhi: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday announced multiple entry visas for every freedom fighter for 5 years alongside additional 10,000 scholarships for their children.
"Today is a special day, it is the day to remember the martyrs of both India and Bangladesh," he said while addressing a programme to honour the Indian soldiers who sacrificed their lives in 1971 during the War of Liberation of Bangladesh at Manekshaw Centre.
Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina also spoke on the occasion and honoured each of seven Indian fallen soldier's families through presenting them with the citation and Rs 5 lakh each.
These families included four from the Army and one each from Air Force, Navy and the BSF.
India showed humanity to 90,000 soldiers held prisoners of war during the war, Modi said adding that free medical treatment will be ensured for 100 freedom fighters under special medical scheme each year.
Indian Prime Minister praised Sheikh Hasina for her mental strength and adamancy to steer Bangladesh after what happened to her family, saying "16 of her family members were murdered, but Sheikh Hasina stood still like a rock."
Speaking on the occasion, Hasina said the history of Bangladesh has been written by the blood of the Indian martyrs along with valiant freedom fighters of Bangladesh.
"They fought together for the independence of Bangladesh. The story of their sacrifice will be remembered from generation to generation in our two countries. Let the souls of the martyrs rest in peace. Let us celebrate the lives of our heroes," she said.
Bangladesh has launched the process of honouring the Indian soldiers who embraced martyrdom in the War of Liberation of Bangladesh in 1971.
It's the first initiative to recognise the sacrifice of the Indian soldiers died in the Bangladesh War of Liberation in 1971 and launching of the process of honouring families of martyred Indian soldiers.
Sheikh Hasina said the martyrs of India and Bangladesh, who fought together in 1971, are blessing Bangladesh and India from the heaven.
"Let us reiterate our resolve to work together for shared peace and prosperity. Let us pledge to work closely to materialise the dreams and aspirations of Bangabandhu for establishing Golden Bangladesh."
Sheikh Hasina said she is greatly honoured to be present at this very unique event to pay tribute to some very special Indian friends, who sacrificed their lives for the independence of Bangladesh.
"On behalf of the people and the government of Bangladesh, I acknowledge the debt of gratitude to the martyrs and their families."
The Prime Minister said Bangladesh is grateful to the Indian government and people for their extraordinary support to the War of Liberation.
"Many valiant soldiers of Indian Armed Forces had sacrificed their lives for the liberation of Bangladesh. We always remember with gratitude their contributions and sacrifices," she said.
The Prime Minister also termed today's event as a long-cherished moment.
She mentioned that the initiative to recall the contributions of foreign friends during the War of Liberation through honoring them was taken up by the present government of Bangladesh in 2009.
Hasina said the government has started this in July 2011 and conferred the Bangladesh Freedom Award, the highest civilian award for a foreign national, on former Indian Prime Minister Srimati Indira Gandhi.
"We continued with giving honours to former Indian Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee and President Shri Pranab Mukherjee," she said.
Bangladesh earlier honoured Indians from all walks of, including top Army generals and officers, political leaders, activists, journalists, doctors and diplomats, life who played a role in the country's liberation.
The country had honoured former PMs Indira Gandhi and Atal Bihari Vajpayee, among others, with the 'Friends of Bangladesh' award which were received by Congress president Sonia Gandhi and PM Modi respectively.