Haroon Habib

DHAKA: Bangladesh remembered with respect on Wednesday the Indian soldiers who laid down their lives during its Liberation War 37 years ago.

The rare honour was accorded during an Independence Day parade which a 10-member Indian delegation of Bangladesh Liberation War veterans attended.

This was the first time that Indian officers were formally invited to attend the celebration.

The Indian Army men were popularly known as ‘Mitra Bahini’ (allied forces) during the nine month-long war that led to the liberation of East Pakistan to form Bangladesh in 1971.

The elderly war veterans arrived here on Wednesday with their spouses. President Iajuddin Ahmed attended the colourful march-past at the national parade square.

The head of Bangladesh’s military-backed caretaker government, Fakhruddin Ahmed, members of the council of advisers, Chief of the Army Staff General Moeen U. Ahmed and chiefs of other services were among those present.

No official figure of Indian soldiers killed in the war is available. An unofficial estimate puts it close to 18,000.