Army Chief Gen M M Naravane has said that India was conscious of Bangladesh’s efforts to deny space to terror groups that are carrying out subversive activities against India.
In a message played out during an event here on Wednesday to mark 50 years of India-Bangladesh ties, he also asserted that “the historic Land Boundary Agreement” (LBA) between the two countries has shown how an issue related to border can be “resolved with mutual negotiations and a constructive outlook”.
This, at a time when “certain countries” have been trying to “alter the status quo by force, and bypassing traditional rules and protocols, with complete disregard to territorial integrity of others,” Naravane said, without naming any country.
The LBA epitomises the 3Ms — “mutual respect, mutual trust and mutual commitment — to a rules-based order”, the Indian Army chief said, and asserted that the two countries share an important strategic space in the Indian subcontinent with a land boundary spanning over 4,000 km.
Marking a new high in bilateral ties, India and Bangladesh in 2015 had sealed a historic deal to settle the old land boundary dispute through exchange of territories, removing a major irritant in bilateral ties.
During Prime Minister’s maiden visit to Dhaka in 2015, the two sides had swapped documents regarding the LBA that paved the way for the operationalisation of the pact signed in 1974 by the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and Bangladesh’s founder Sheikh Mujibur Rahman to settle the border issue.
Naravane, in his recorded address at the event hosted at the IIC by Delhi-based defence think-tank Centre for Land Warfare Studies (CLAWS), also said that Bangladesh’s approach to counter-terrorism “resonates with India’s resolve and resilience to counter terrorism in all its forms”.
“We are conscious of Bangladesh’s efforts to deny space to terror groups that are carrying out subversive activities against India,” the Indian Army chief said.
In turn, India “continues to prevent any terror outfit” from using Indian soil to undermine the interests of Bangladesh, he said.
The event was attended by Bangladesh High Commissioner Muhammad Imran, former Army chief of Bangladesh and 1971 war veteran Lt Gen (retd) Harun-ar-Rashid, a few 1971 India-Pakistan war veterans from Indian armed forces, and a number of senior defence officials, among others.
Bangladesh and India have “come a long way in the last five decades and our friendship has stood the tests of time,” Naravane said.
As neighbours, India and Bangladesh continue to grow together with shared cultures, history, opportunities and destinies, he said.
The Indian Army chief also paid homage to soldiers on both sides of the border who have made supreme sacrifices, for a “brighter and more secure tomorrow”.
It is the colllective will of the people, standing shoulder-to-shoulder poised in the battlefield that had “turned the tide against the enemy” in the 1971 war, leading to birth of a free nation of Bangladesh, he said.
And, it is the same spirit of solidarity, camaraderie and shared destiny that “remains the cornerstone of our strong bilateral ties” even after five decades, Naravane said.
India-Bangladesh friendship is a tribute to the collective will of the Bangladesh people who stood for their right to liberty, and an acknowledgement to the role of the Indian Army in the “epic struggle” that changed the lives and destinies of millions of brothers and sisters, he added.
The India Army chief later arrived at the event to launch a new book ‘Bangladesh Liberation @ 50 Years: ‘Bijoy’ With Synergy, India-Pakistan War 1971′.