New Delhi: While showering praise on Bangladesh, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday slammed another neighbour Pakistan in a veiled manner, saying it prefers “backstabbing over trust” and that its “thought” is a roadblock to peace in the region.
He made the comments as Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina felicitated Indian heroes of the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War against Pakistan and recalled their sacrifices at a special event here. He said India’s doors are always open for cooperation, but for that terrorism has to be shunned, a clear reference to Pakistan.
Referring to his famous slogan “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas” (eveybody’s cooperation, everybody’s development), Modi said it is not just restricted to India but also to the neighbouring countries as development of India is incomplete without the progress of the region.
“We have extended a hand of friendship towards every country (of the region) and have invited them to be a part of our growth. Without being selfish, we have wished good for the entire region,” said the Prime Minister who had invited leaders of all the SAARC countries to his swearing-in ceremony in 2014.
“We truly think that citizens of all nations of the region progress and prosper. Our doors are open for cooperation, but for this terrorism has to be shunned,” he said.
Without naming Pakistan but obviously referring to it, Modi said, “There is one thought in South Asia which breeds, inspires and encourages terrorism. The thought whose priority is not humanity, but extremism and terrorism.”
India is a victim of that “thought” which encourages terrorism, he said. “The thought, whose policymakers prefer terrorism over humanity, destruction over development, destruction over creation, backstabbing over trust, is the biggest challenge to the society and its economic development,” he said.
Noting that 1,661 Indian soldiers had laid down their lives in the Bangladesh Liberation War, Modi said the Indian army’s struggle in this cannot be forgotten.
Before the function, Modi and Hasina met and posed for photographs with Major Ashok Tara of 14 Guards who had rescued the family of Bangladesh founder Sheikh Mujibur Rahman from a house in Dhanmandi where they had been imprisoned by the Pakistani soldiers in 1971. Rahman was the father of Sheikh Hasina.
“The Indian army never shied away from its duty and set an example by following conventions of the war. Over 90,000 Prisoners of War were released safely after the 1971 war. The humane gesture shown by India is one of the biggest events in the century,” Modi said.
The Prime Minister said the genocide by Pakistan in 1971 was undertaken to wipe out an entire generation of Bangladesh and every person who was proud of the idea of Bangladesh was eliminated.
Speaking at the event, Hasina said, the history of Bangladesh has been written with the blood of Indian martyrs along with valiant freedom fighters of Bangladesh.