Dhaka media carries routine reports on Manekshaw death

June 28th, 2008 - 3:55 pm ICT by IANS  

Dhaka, June 28 (IANS) The Bangladesh media Friday carried wire service reports about the death of former Indian Army chief Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw, but there were no commentaries or editorials on the man who scripted Bangladesh’s liberation from Pakistan in 1971. This was in sharp contrast to the rich tributes that were paid to Lt. Gen. Jagjit Singh Aurora, who commanded the ground offensive Dec 3-16 that culminated in the surrender of 93,000 Pakistani troops and the creation of Bangladesh. That was on the 25th anniversary of the liberation in 1996 and again when Aurora died May 3, 2005.

Manekshaw was India’s army chief in 1971. The joint India-Bangladesh forces led by Lt. Gen. Aurora, then head of the Indian Army’s Eastern Command, and Bangladesh’s Col. M.A.G. Osmany carried out the military campaign.

The nitty gritty of the campaign had been planned by Maj. Gen. J.F.R. Jacob, chief of staff of the Eastern Command.

The low-key reaction to Manekshaw’s death is not surprising because at the political level, Bangladesh has been generally wary of acknowledging the role the Indian armed forces played in its liberation. India lost over 4,000 soldiers in the process.

For Bangladesh, its heroes are the sector commanders who led the forces during the December campaign.

One of them, Ziaur Rahman, later went on to become the army chief and then the president.

Bangladesh’s heads of state and governments have, however, at the diplomatic level, expressed appreciation of India’s role in the creation of the nation.

The Chief of Bangladesh Army Gen. Moin U. Ahmed was in India earlier this year after which a 11-member delegation of former Indian Army soldiers who took part in the 1971 war visited Bangladesh.

Led by Jacob, they were well received by Ahmed and other top brass and by the public at several receptions held in their honour.

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