The Bangladesh liberation war was an unprecedented event of the 20th century as it was a "moral fight" against injustice, atrocities and oppression, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said on Monday.
In an address at a ceremony at the Bangladesh High Commission here, he said India's response to the events of 1971 was a reflection of "a civilisation more than a mere matter of state policy".
For India, ties with Bangladesh are always special and go beyond just a strategic partnership, Singh said.
"The Bangladesh War of Liberation was an unprecedented event in the 20th-century history for many reasons. It was a moral fight against injustice, atrocities and oppression," he said at the event organised to mark the Armed Forces Day of Bangladesh.
Singh said there is a need to keep the spirit of the Bangladesh liberation war alive in the minds of the younger generations, especially those who join the armed forces.
"It is all the more important, because the forces which brought untold atrocities and miseries on Bangladesh in 1971, and the forces against whom we spilt our blood together, are far from finished and gone," he said.
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"They are lurking around us in different forms and excuses, but indistinguishable from their past in spewing hatred, intolerance and violence. Our tasks are no less formidable than they were in 1971," the defence minister added.
He said India is keen to continue working closely with Bangladesh to support each other's defence and security concerns.
Singh said India is deeply sensitive to the security and development concerns of its neighbours and it hopes for a reciprocal level of sensitivity on the part of the neighbours.
"In this context, it is critical for our armed forces to remain engaged with each other for mutual capability enhancement, to respond to contingencies and to realise the shared goals of providing security and prosperity to our peoples," he said.
The year 2021 marks the 50th anniversary of 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, which paved the way for the birth of Bangladesh.
The defence minister said Bangladesh has been constantly proving its critics and doomsayers wrong and that the progress achieved by the country over the years is worthy of emulation by all developing nations.
"For India, the success of Bangladesh is a reminder of the just cause we stood for. Bangladesh's success is our own success and in our own interest. India-Bangladesh bilateral ties have been passing through a 'shonali adhyay' -- golden phase," he added.
Singh also paid rich tributes to the brave soldiers of the Indian armed forces who stood steadfast with Bangladesh during the War of Liberation.
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