Bangladesh committed to fight terrorism

New Delhi: Expressing its commitment to fight the scourge of terrorism, Bangladesh on Saturday assured India that its territory will not be allowed to be used by elements working against the interests of any country.

Addressing a programme to commemorate the 150th year of Rabindranath Tagore`s birth anniversary here, Planning Minister of Bangladesh A K Khandker said his countrymen cannot forget India`s support to their freedom struggle.

Khandker, a retired Air Vice Marshal, who had also participated in the 1971 war for the freedom of Bangladesh said, "The spontaneous support that we received from the government and the people of India can never be forgotten by the people of Bangladesh."

"The courage, the spirit of sacrifice, the spirit of the people of India particularly the visionary leadership of Indira Gandhi (the then Indian Prime Minister), who announced her recognition of Bangladesh as an independent and sovereign nation even before the war ended can perhaps never be fully reciprocated by the people of Bangladesh," he said

Khandker said this part of Bangladesh`s history should also be celebrated jointly with India.

Referring to Tagore`s message of peace and harmony, he said, "We in Bangladesh firmly believe that for our region to develop and achieve peace, prosperity and stability, it must be free from the scourge of terrorism and extremism."

"To this the government of Sheikh Hasina has launched an uncompromising fight against terrorism, extremism and militancy. She has also assured India that Bangladesh will not allow its soil to be used by elements working against the interests of any country."

Khandker said the joint celebrations of Tagore`s commemoration is a significant event that underscores the cultural and social bond shared by the two countries. He said the two countries shared a history of struggle against colonisation and exploitation.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, in his address, said he was delighted when last year the Bangladesh Prime Minister agreed to oversee joint celebrations of the birth anniversary of Tagore in a befitting manner.

Congress President Sonia Gandhi, who also released a volume of Tagore`s paintings at the function, said the Nobel laureate`s message of unity through diversity is all the more pertinent today when some forces mistake uniformity for unity and find themselves uncomfortable with the diversity of our country.

She said Tagore`s nationalism was anchored in international amity. Gandhi said that both countries celebrating Tagore`s birth anniversary together signify the lasting bond that the poet has created across the nation`s boundaries.