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Air Chief Marshal Bhadauria's visit to Bangladesh highly significant: IAF

Indian Chief of Air Staff, Marshal RKS Bhadauria (L) meets Bangladeshs Chief of Army Staff, SM Shafiuddin Ahmed (R), during his visit to Dhaka. A PTI Photo

NEW DELHI (PTI):  Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria has held extensive talks with the top military brass of Bangladesh in Dhaka to further expand the "all-encompassing" bilateral defence cooperation, officials have said.

The Indian Air Force (IAF) described the visit by the Chief of Air Staff (CAS) as "highly significant" in view of the golden jubilee of the historic victory in the 1971 war for the liberation of Bangladesh.

Air Chief Marshal Bhadauria was on a two-day visit to the neighbouring country from Monday at the invitation of his Bangladeshi counterpart, Air Marshal Shaikh Abdul Hannan, to review the passing-out parade and commissioning ceremony at the Bangladesh Air Force Academy (BAFA) in Jashore.

The ceremony was organised on the occasion of "President Parade 2021".

"The two-day visit was highly significant in view of the golden jubilee of the historic victory in the 1971 war for the liberation of Bangladesh," the IAF said.

"This occasion also marks the first instance when any foreign chief was invited to review the parade as the chief guest -- a re-affirmation of the strong bonds of friendship and trust between India and Bangladesh and their armed forces," it said in a statement on Tuesday.

The visit by the CAS to Bangladesh came over two months after Army Chief General MM Naravane travelled to the country.

Officials said Air Chief Marshal Bhadauria held discussions with the Chief of Air Staff of the Bangladesh Air Force as well as the Chief of Army Staff and Principal Staff Officer of the armed forces division.

The IAF said the focus of the talks was to further strengthen the all-encompassing defence cooperation between the two countries.

Air Chief Marshal Bhadauria also interacted with the High Commissioner of India in Dhaka Vikram K Doraiswami.

There has been a flurry of visits between the two sides in the last six months notwithstanding the coronavirus pandemic.

The year 2021 marks the 50th anniversary of the liberation of Bangladesh and the birth centenary of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the first president of the country.

In reflection of the close ties, India is also hosting a number of events to mark the 50th anniversary of the 1971 war that led to the liberation of Bangladesh.

Around 93,000 Pakistani troops had surrendered before the joint forces of the Indian Army and the "Mukti Bahini" on December 16, 1971 that paved way for the birth of Bangladesh.

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