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Rediff.com  » News » 40 years after assisting Mukti Bahini, Army chief to visit Bangladesh

40 years after assisting Mukti Bahini, Army chief to visit Bangladesh

June 16, 2011 11:27 IST
Indian Army Chief Gen VK Singh will undertake a five-day trip to Bangladesh starting June 19, exactly 40 years after he started imparting training to Mukti Bahini fighters in North Bengal in the run-up to the 1971 war with Pakistan.

As a young, freshly commissioned second lieutenant in the Rajput Regiment, Vijay Kumar Singh was assigned to train a detachment of Mukti Bahini fighters before the hostilities between India and Pakistan broke out in December that year. Later he fought for the liberation of Bangladesh in Feni, Chittagong and Cox's Bazar.

Now as chief of the world's second largest standing Army, Gen Singh will meet many of his old friends who are now influential politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen under the Awami League regime in Bangladesh.

As India's Eastern Army Commander, just prior to taking over as the Army Chief, Gen VK Singh had made special efforts to revive the largely indifferent military-to-military ties between India and Bangladesh.

According to an official press release issued by the Indian high commission in Bangladesh, Gen Singh is flying to Dhaka on June 19 on a five-day official visit to Bangladesh, at the invitation of the Chief of Army Staff of Bangladesh. 

While there Gen Singh will hold meetings with top government leaders, senior armed forces officers and also attend the passing-out parade of two batches at the Bangladesh Military Academy in Chittagong.

A five-member delegation will accompany Gen Singh. His wife Bharti Singh, who is president of the Army Wives Welfare Association of the Indian Army, will also accompany him.

During his visit, Gen Singh will call on President Zillur Rahman, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and will also be meeting senior officers of the Bangladesh armed forces.

The general will visit Chittagong and review the passing-out parade of the 64th BMA Long Course and the 35th BMA Special Course at the Bangladesh Military Academy on June 22.

Analysts both in India and Bangladesh feel that Gen Singh's visit is likely to take the military-to-military relationship between Dhaka and New Delhi to the next level.

RS Chauhan in New Delhi