Colonel Mohammad Mohtashim Hyder Chowdhury tells ThePrint participating in India's Republic Day parade will have 'positive impact for the future'

New Delhi: The Bangladesh armed forces’ participation in the Republic Day parade will add a “new dimension” to defence ties between India and Bangladesh, said Colonel Mohammad Mohtashim Hyder Chowdhury, leader of the Bangladesh contingent.

In an interview, Chowdhury said, as the parade got over: “This will add a new dimension to the defence relationship between India and Bangladesh… This was our first experience. I believe a new dimension will now come in our joint military drills and exercises that we will carry out. We’ve been doing many joint exercises despite the pandemic and this will continue.”

A 122-member contingent of the Bangladesh armed forces participated in the Republic Day parade Tuesday. The march was led by Lt Col. Abu Mohammed Shahnoor Shawon and his deputies Lieutenant Farhan Ishraq and Flight Lieutenant Sibat Rahman.

The contingent comprised soldiers of the Bangladesh Army, sailors of the Bangladesh Navy and pilots of the Bangladesh Air Force.

According to Chowdhury, the parade was “new and unique” for them and was the “first exposure” for the armed forces in terms of participating in the military parade of a foreign country.

“All of us had a very positive attitude and we are all excited to be here. Obviously, all these will have positive impact for the future too for both the countries,” he said.

‘Better Tempo Will Be Created’

Chowdhury noted that the soldiers found it easy to participate in the parade because both countries followed similar drill customs and etiquette.

“There were drill instructors, officers, NCOs that helped us a lot. We understood the special drills you have. It was easy for us due to the privileged gestures of the Indian armed forces members … We hope everything will continue and with a better tempo,” he said.

The majority of the soldiers in the contingent hail from the most distinguished units of the Bangladesh Army, comprising 1, 2, 3, 4, 8, 9, 10 and 11 East Bengal Regiment and 1, 2 and 3 Field Artillery Regiment.

Chowdhury also stated that participating in India’s Republic Day brought a “special feeling” for them since 2021 was the 50th year of independence for Bangladesh, which was declared independent from Pakistan on 26 March 1971. All the units participating in the parades fought in the 1971 Liberation War.

The birth centenary of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Bangladesh’s ‘Father of the Nation’, is also being celebrated in the country since 2020 as ‘Mujib Borsho’ or ‘Mujib Year’.

“Coming to India was a great privilege and experience for me and my contingent. This is a significant year for us and we consider ourselves really very fortunate to have been invited here,” he said.

This also marks 50 years of India and Bangladesh establishing their diplomatic ties.

The contingent will be visiting Agra and Ajmer Wednesday, after which they will be leaving for Dhaka.