Kolkata: A joint cycling expedition by 30 personnel of Indian and Bangladesh armies to commemorate the 47th Independence Day of Bangladesh was flagged in by Lieutenant General Praveen Bakshi, General Officer Commanding in Chief, Eastern Command at Fort William, Kolkata on Monday.
Major General Nayeem Ashfaque Chowdhury, GOC 55 Infantry Division, Brigadier General Mohammad Mohsin Ali and representatives of Bangladesh Deputy High Commission in Kolkata attended the event from the Bangladesh side.
The 500 km-long expedition, which was flagged off by Lieutenant General AS Bedi, GOC Gajraj Corps from Agartala on March 22 entered Bangladesh through Sonamura crossing on Indo-Bangladesh border near Agartala and traced the routes used in the ‘Race to Dacca’ Comilla – Dhaka – Faridpur – Jessore and entered India from Benapole / Petropole crossing, and reached Salt Lake on March 31.
At each of the battle fields they visited, history was brought alive by Mukti Joddhas who had taken part in that battle.
The battlefields included Gangasagar which is connected with highest gallantry award winners of both nations – Lance Naik Albert Ekka, Param Vir Chakra who sacrificed his life there and Shaheed Sepoy Mostafa Kamal, Bir Shreshtho who is buried there, Garibpur, the first liberated area of Bangladesh, Azmatpur used as a base during 1971 operations, Bishaykhali, where 1 East Bengal Regiment and Mukti Joddhas fought a battle, Saduhati, Chowgachha, Shyamganj, Jenidah and Shiromoni where the last battle of 1971 Operations took place.
The team also visited the prestigious Raktarin Memorial. In the Indian segment, the team visited the Lichubagan War Memorial and Chotokhola and Melagar in Tripura which had served as training bases for Mukti Bahini and Hardaspur BOP in West Bengal.
In addition to the events covering the Liberation War, the team visited the Mynamati War Cemetery where 737 Indian and British soldiers sacrificed their lives during Burma Campaign and Field Marshal ‘Bill’ Slim’s Command Post in Comilla cantonment during World War II.
They called on the Indian High Commissioner at the Indian Embassy at Dhaka and visited institutions of Akij Group at Jessore.
The joint expedition renewed bonds created between both nations 47 years ago and will promote defence cooperation at all levels between both armies.