August 17, 2022, 6:30 am

Diplomatic correspondent

2021-12-06 15:36:42 BdST

Bangladesh, India to celebrate Maitree Dibosh today

In a rare gesture of friendship, Bangladesh and India are set to celebrate the historic December 6 -- the day when India formally recognised Bangladesh as a sovereign and independent state in 1971.

The day has been designated by the prime ministers of Bangladesh and India as Bangladesh-India Maitree Dibosh (Friendship Day).

The celebration of Friendship Day coincides with Golden Jubilee of Bangladesh’s Independence and 50th anniversary of Bangladesh-India friendship.

The foreign ministry said on Sunday Bangladesh and India have completed preparations for grand celebrations of Maitree Dibosh, the historic day when India, as the second country, recognised Bangladesh as a sovereign and independent state in 1971 after Bhutan.

Their recognition came a few hours apart, but Bhutan was the first country to recognise Bangladesh.

As part of the celebration, Friendship Day will be jointly commemorated in the capitals of 18 selected countries, including Australia, France, Japan, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Switzerland, Thailand, UAE, USA, Belgium, Canada, Egypt, Indonesia, Russia, Qatar, Singapore and UK, in addition to the celebrations in Bangladesh and India by the respective diplomatic Missions of the two countries.

In most of the cities, Friendship Day programmes will be held today as planned. In few of the cities, the celebration would be held at a later date due to the Covid-19 related restrictions declared by the host governments, the ministry said.

The programmes include address by the Heads of the Missions of Bangladesh and India, address by the Chief Guest from the Host country, cultural programme, screening of documentary on Bangladesh-India bilateral relations followed by reception showcasing foods of both the countries.

A photographic exhibition, depicting the historic relationship between the two countries and seminar/webinar is also being organized by some Missions as part of the joint celebrations.

Bangladesh and India have taken up year-long programmes to celebrate the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations on various other fronts.

Bangabandhu-Bapu Digital Exhibition is being displayed in various cities of Bangladesh and India.

The exhibition was jointly inaugurated by the Prime Ministers of Bangladesh and India in March 2021 during the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The two leaders also unveiled postage stamps commemorating 50 years of the Bangladesh-India friendship at that time.

Exchange of visits by war veterans, exchange of visits of naval vessels, sporting events, cultural events and other programs are also being organized to mark the 50th anniversary of friendship between the two countries.

Bangladesh and India are committed to further strengthen and consolidate the existing excellent relations that are founded on commonalities of values, culture and legacies based on mutual trust, respect and understanding.

The joint celebration is the reflection of the will of the people and the leadership of both the countries to work together for the next fifty years and beyond towards attaining a vision of shared prosperity and development.

According to a message received from diplomatic sources in New Delhi, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is scheduled to speak today at a special event organised by the Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA) to celebrate "Moitree Dibosh".

According to the itinerary, the programme will take place at the Sapru House in New Delhi where the Prime Minister will deliver her speech virtually at 3.05pm (Indian time) on the day.

Among other speakers at the function will be Bangladesh's State Minister Culture KM Khalid, Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla and Bangladesh High Commissioner to India Muhamad Imran.

A video on "India-Bangladesh Moitree Dibosh " will also be screened on the occasion. There will also be a panel discussion.

The Indian High Commission in Bangladesh will host a reception-cum-cultural evening on the occasion of Moitree Dibosh at 5:30 pm today at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC) at Agargaon in Dhaka.

A “Maitree Week” focusing on the friendship between Bangladesh and India concluded  in capital Dhaka on Sunday.

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