Revisiting history: Army veterans, Mukti Joddhas recount '71 war drill
Kolkata: Camarederie and bonding were at full display on Friday when the 'old boys' of the Indian Army and the Mukti Joddhas, who fought shoulder-to-shoulder to liberate Bangladesh in 1971, reunited to celebrate the 46th anniversary of the war with Pakistan.
Recounting tales of valour and courage at the Army's Eastern Command headquarter Fort William here, the Mukti Joddhas (liberation warriors of Bangladesh) and war veterans talked of how they coordinated with each other to force the Pakistan Army to surrender.
Bangladesh celebrates its independence day on December 16 and India hails the day as "Vijay Diwas".
"We had gone into the erstwhile East Pakistan on guerrilla operations much before the formal war started on December 3 and trained young Bengali men for combat," said Brig. (retd) B K Ponwar, who was then a strapping young lieutenant aged 23.
Speaking enthusiastically about the courage of the Mukti Joddhas and support of local people, Ponwar said wherever the Indian Army evicted Pakistan Army personnel, they were greeted by slogans of 'Indian Army Zindabad'.
"The Pakistani Army had a storage of 30 days' ammunition and provisions when the war begun in the eastern sector, but what they lacked was loyalty and conviction and thus lost the war," he said. Speaking highly about the Indian cooperation all along their fight for liberation, Mosharraf Hossain, a Mukti Joddha and minister in the Bangladesh Cabinet, said that without the India, it would not have been possible to attain independence.