President Ram Nath Kovind on Thursday attended the Victory Day Parade as the 'Guest of Honour' in Dhaka as Bangladesh marked 50 years of victory in the Liberation War against Pakistan by showcasing its military might which included spectacular aerobatics and display of defence acquisitions.
A 122-member strong tri-services contingent from India also took part in the parade watched by Bangladesh President M Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, as well as ministers, diplomats and other dignitaries at the National Parade Ground.
The Indian contingent drew loud cheers from the crowd as it marched past with the announcer acknowledging India's contributions to Bangladesh's Liberation War of 1971.
On the occasion of the Victory Day Parade, Wing Commander T Asha Jyothirmai of the Indian Air Force (IAF) carried out a joint skydiving demonstration along with skydivers of the Bangladesh Air Force in Dhaka.
Jyothirmai, a paratrooper from the IAF, carried the Indian tricolour with her in that para jump as a mark of respect to the personnel of the Indian armed forces who sacrificed their lives during the Liberation War.
President Kovind, who is here on a maiden three-day State Visit, joined as the 'Guest of Honour' at the National Parade Ground to mark the golden jubilee of the Victory Day of Bangladesh.
President Kovind and First Lady Savita Kovind were greeted by President Hamid and Prime Minister Hasina on their arrival at the venue.
'President Ram Nath Kovind attends Victory Day Parade at National Parade Ground in Dhaka. A 122 member tri-services contingent from Indian Armed Forces also participated in the Victory Day celebrations,' Rashtrapati Bhavan said in a tweet.
Kovind was the lone foreign head of state to join the celebrations.
President Hamid took the salute at the ceremony from a saluting dais while his Indian counterpart Kovind witnessed the parade along with Prime Minister Hasina.
Besides India, military contingents from Russia and Bhutan also joined the parade. They had their military bands of their own during the march-past.
This was the first time when foreign troops participated in the Victory Day ceremony since Bangladesh's independence.
The Indian contingent was the largest one to join the parade with 122 members, including a military band.
The United States and Mexico sent military observer groups which too took part in the parade.
Twenty-three contingents of Bangladesh's Army, Navy, Air Force and other paramilitary units as well as non-military and utility services and ministries joined the parade.
The armed forces also displayed their defence hardware and weapons at the ceremony at the National Parade Square along with an impressive march-past and the fly-past.
Prime Minister Hasina was seen excitedly applauding the march-past, the fly-past, aerobatics display, armoury acquisitions of different regiments and contingents of the armed forces, on the parade ground.
A Bangladeshi tri-services contingent also participated at India's Republic Day celebrations in New Delhi on January 26 this year.
Earlier, President Hamid and Prime Minister Hasina paid rich tributes to the martyrs of the Liberation War by placing wreaths at the National Memorial at Savar.
India was the second country to recognise Bangladesh after Bhutan.
On this day in 1971, Lt Gen Amir Abdullah Khan Niazi, heading 93,000 Pakistani troops, surrendered to the Indian Army under the command of Lt Gen Jagjit Singh Aurora in Dhaka, and East Pakistan was declared as the newly liberated 'Bangladesh'.
The year 2021 is an important one for India-Bangladesh relationship.
"It marks the Triveni of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the state of Bangladesh, 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between our two countries and also the 100th birth anniversary of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman," Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said in Dhaka on Wednesday at a briefing.