Flypast, martyr honours planned on Vijay Diwas

KOLKATA: In a first for the city, fighter jets ? possibly frontline Sukhoi Su-30 MKIs ? will fly over Fort William and Kolkata Maidan on the morning of December 16 in ?Missing Man? formation to honour martyrs of the Indo-Pakistan War of 1971 that led to the liberation of Bangladesh.

The day is celebrated as Vijay Diwas every year to commemorate India?s victory and the laying down of arms by the Pakistan army, considered the biggest surrender after World War II.

In the ?Missing Man? formation, there are normally three in an ?inverted V? with space between the lead aircraft and the one to its left to accommodate another one. The space is for the ?Missing Man?, who didn?t return home alive.

In another first for this part of the country, the Bangladesh government will pay tribute to some of the Indian soldiers martyred during the Liberation War at the Army?s Eastern Command headquarters in Kolkata.

?The Bangladesh government plans to honour all Indian military personnel martyred in the Liberation War. Our Prime Minister honoured seven of them during her visit to Delhi in 2017. This year, a nine-member delegation led by minister AKM Mozammel Haque will visit India to honour the families of 17-25 Indian soldiers martyred during the war. The names are being finalized. The honour will comprise a silver crest, certificate, a copy of a speech by our PM and two books by Bangabandhu Mujibur Rahman. This will be a unique event. Seldom has a country honoured soldiers of another for sacrificing their lives for such a cause,? Toufique Hasan, deputy high commissioner of Bangladesh, said.

Though Bangladeshi Mukti Joddhas are invited to the celebrations, this was the first time diplomats from the neighbouring country were present at Fort William during the curtain-raiser. ?This was a great visit. The old photographs of the war show places in Bangladesh like Jessore and Tangail. We shall also be celebrating on December 16-18 at the Bangladesh Deputy High Commission in Kolkata,? Hasan added.

According to Major General N D Prasad, MGGS, Eastern Command, of the 2,998 personnel who died in Bangladesh, 1,478 were from the Kolkata-based Command. ?This year, we shall be hosting a 72-member delegation from Bangladesh, including 30 Mukti Joddhas and six serving officers of their armed forces. Former Army commanders and the commanding officers of units that participated in the war will also attend the programmes in Kolkata,? he said.

The general also spoke on growing military ties between the nations and the Indo-Bangladesh Armed Defence Dialogue that enables officers from the neighbouring country to visit military installations in India. The two Armies hold joint exercises for greater interoperability.

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