India-Bangladesh army cycling expedition flagged off

A joint Indian and Bangladesh Army cycling expedition has been flagged off at Agartala.

Senior Correspondent& Tripura
Published : 22 March 2017, 06:52 AM
Updated : 22 March 2017, 06:52 AM

Fifteen soldiers each from both armies are participating in the expedition alongside some support staff.

General Officer Commanding of the Gajraj Corps Lt Gen AS Bedi flagged off the expedition on Wednesday at Agartala.

“India and Bangladesh share a very close link as far as history, culture and geography are concerned. Both the armies have been interacting with each other at various platforms at the senior level, senior level and training field,” Lt-General Bedi said.

“This is one of the noble initiatives taken by the Indian and Bangladesh army and shall revive all the old memories of the war of liberation of 1971, as will help learn the best practices at the junior and younger level in both armies. This is the first of its kind and I am sure that it is the stepping stone for many such activities in future which both the armies will undertake.”

The expedition teams, comprising 19 soldiers each and including officers, JCOs and OR, will cover approx 532 km in11 days

Major Sajjad, the Bangladesh cycling team leader described the relation between the Indian and Bangladesh armies as a "very old one."

“It started during the 1971 Liberation War and will be further strengthened now with this first joint expedition. The spirit of this expedition is our liberation war of 1971 where the Indian army actively participated. Through this expedition we are going to feel the great deeds of our predecessors.”

“Besides the training events, both the armies participate in games and sports as well. I hope that this will further strengthen relations between the two armies and the bilateral relation between the two nations.”

Indian and Bangladesh Army conduct joint military exercise annually, the introduction of joint adventure activities will result in increased mutual understanding and cooperation at troops level.

The expedition will pass through Comilla, Dhaka, Jessore and will end at Kolkata on Apr 4.

The contingent from Bangladesh Army had crossed over to India on Mar 19 through Akhaura land port. 

While at Agartala, the joint expedition team visited historical places from the 1971 Liberation War.

They visited the area of “Maitree Udyan” (Friendship park) at Chottakola, located near the border.

This was one of the Base camps of Muktijodhas from where they had launched a number of raids against the Pakistani Army in Chittagong, Comilla and greater Noakhali areas.

The area still has the remnants of bunkers used by the Freedom Fighters and a few murals depicting their actions during the war.

It also has a watch tower from where parts of Noakhali and Feni can be seen.

The park is being developed by the government of Tripura.

The team also visited Melaghar Camp, which was the headquarters of 2nd Sector during the Liberation war.

The Sector was commanded by Maj Khalid Musarraf.

He had raised the K Force comprising of the Fourth, Ninth and Tenth battalions of the East Bengal Regiments.

This force had carried out operations against the Pakistani Army in Faridpur, Noakhali, Comilla and Dhaka city.

A large number of Muktijodhas and their families from Bangladesh often visit these historical sites.

The team members also visited the Indian Army 1971 War memorial and other war memorials of 1971 operations in the area, including the Dukli War Memorial of Lance Naik Albert Ekka of Indian Army.

Ekka, a Santal tribal from Jharkhand, had fought  and died at the historic Battle of Gangasagar and was posthumously awarded the Param Vir Chakra, the highest gallantry award in India.

During its journey the expedition will cover a number of historical battle sites where major battles were fought jointly by the Indian and Bangladesh Armies during the War of Liberation 1971.

Some members of the joint team come from the units that had participated in these battles, the Indian High Commission said.

Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher