Army chief on five-day trip to Bangladesh
New Delhi: Forty years after he participated in the 1971 India-Pakistan war to liberate Bangladesh, Indian Army chief General V.K. Singh embarks on a five-day visit to Dhaka Sunday, when he will gift three antique 3.7-inch Howitzers to the neighbouring country's army as mementos.
General Singh, who fought in the war as a freshly commissioned second lieutenant in the Rajput Regiment, will also present equipment for setting up a computer lab for the Bangladeshi armed forces, apart from a rock-climbing wall, both for training purposes, army officers said here.
The gestures are part of India's and the army chief's efforts to take forward the growing defence relations between the two nations, they said.
"Bangladesh's first artillery battery, called the Mujeeb Battery, was formed with 3.7-inch Howitzers. India too used these several decades ago. Since Bangladesh wanted some guns for its legacy value and for perpetuating the Mujeeb Battery's memory and accomplishments, these guns are being gifted," an officer said.
Gen Singh will meet top government leaders and senior armed forces officers, and will also attend the passing out parade of two batches of the Bangladesh Military Academy in Chittagong.
Army officials said here that Singh will fly to Dhaka today at the invitation of his Bangladeshi counterpart General Mohammad Abdul Mubeen. "The visit assumes special significance in light of improving military cooperation between the two countries in consonance with the growing relationship," they said.
Gen Singh, who will be accompanied by his wife Bharti Singh and five senior army officers, will also call on President Mohammad Zillur Rahman and Prime Minister Shaikh Hasina.