Guwahati: Defense Minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday congratulated veterans of the 1971 Pak-India war at a function in Guwahati, Assam.
More than 300 veterans of the war, veterans and their families were organized by the Government of Assam to pay tribute to the bravery, dedication and sacrifice of the heroes who fought the enemy in the 1971 war and ensured victory. Proctor attended the ceremony.
Also present was Lieutenant Colonel Qazi Sajjad Ali Zaheer (retd), a Bangladeshi veteran of the 1971 war who was awarded the Padma Shri. Some veterans of the 1965 war were also present.
In his address, Rajnath Singh expressed happiness over meeting war heroes and heroic women and paid homage to those who made great sacrifices in the service of the nation.
He termed the ex-servicemen as an important asset of the nation which is a movement for every Indian. “A serving soldier is India’s strength and a veteran is an everlasting impetus to stand with that strength,” he said.
The 1971 war brought strategic benefits to India, Rajnath Singh added, adding that there has never been such tension on the Indo-Bangladesh border as seen on the Western front because Bangladesh has always been a friend of India. He lauded the co-ordination between the Central and State Governments of the North East which has ensured peace and stability on the Indo-Bangladesh border and helped usher in a new era of development in the region.
He said that the ceremony reflected the sentiments of respect not only of the Armed Forces but also of the democratic values of the country. He paid tributes to Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw, General Jagjit Singh Arora, Lieutenant General JFR Jacob, Major General Sujan Singh Oban and Air Chief Marshal IH Latif for giving India a historic victory in the 1971 war.
In the 1971 war, our forces included soldiers of all faiths. But we did not win the war. It was the strong thread of Indianness that tied our soldiers together that ensured our victory, ”he said.
Singh further appealed to the citizens to protect the unity and integrity of the country with the same nationalism and patriotism with which the military protects the borders.