Bhutan and not India was the first to recognise Bangladesh as an independent nation, Bangladesh’s Foreign Office has said, putting an end to decades old speculation on the issue.
“Bhutan was the first country, there is no controversy about that,” Foreign Secretary M. Shahidul Haque told reporters on Monday. He said both Bhutan and India had recognised Bangladesh as an independent country on December 6, 1971 but Thimphu’s announcement came hours ahead of India’s official recognition. The Foreign Secretary, however, did not specify the time gap.
Dhaka was liberated by joint forces of India and Bangladesh on December 16 with the unconditional surrender of Pakistani troops.
The clarification came as many debated over the years on whether Bhutan followed India’s footstep in recognising Bangladesh as an independent country. The confusion arose afresh in mainstream and social media as Bhutanese Prime Minister Lyonchhen Tshering Tobgay this week visited the country which is preparing to celebrate its 43rd Victory Day anniversary on December 16.
India’s recognition came three days after India-Pakistan war broke out on December 3 following the pre-emptive Pakistani air attack on Indian territory. Bangladesh won its independence on December 16 after nine months of Liberation War against Pakistan.