India celebrates December 16 as Vijay Diwas to commemorate its victory over Pakistan during the 1971 war that led to the creation of Bangladesh.
Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi joined a host of party leaders in saluting the armed forces and remembering Indira Gandhi, who was prime minister at the time.
‘Greetings to people of the country on the celebration of India’s historic victory over Pakistan in 1971 and salutations to the valour of our armed forces,’ he said in a tweet in Hindi.
‘This was a time when India’s neighbouring countries used to recognise the mettle of the Indian prime minister and feared violating the borders of our country,’ the Congress leader added.
Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said India gave a befitting reply in 1971 to those giving threats of the ‘seventh fleet’ by its victory over Pakistan and planted the flag of India’s power and sovereignty.
Homage to patriotism-inspired Indira Gandhi and the brave Indian Armed Forces officials, she said.
Congress’ chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala also extended greetings to the people of the country on Vijay Diwas when Pakistan was defeated.
The country is indebted to its brave soldiers and ‘Iron lady’ Indira Gandhi, he said.
‘We bow our head in deep salutations to the valiant soldiers of the Indian Armed Forces & the lion-hearted leadership of Indira ji, for not only registering a thumping victory in the Indo-Pak War of 1971 but also wiping off tears of terror from millions in Bangladesh,’ the Congress said on its official Twitter handle.
On the occasion of the 49th anniversary of India’s victory in the war against Pakistan, messages by several Congress leaders were posted on the party’s Twitter handle.
Former Union minister and senior Congress leader P Chidambaram said the 1971 war was not to protect India’s interests alone but to protect peace in South Asia.
“The way it was conducted and concluded represented true nationalism… There were no boasts, no exaggerations, yet India played its part as a responsible regional power,” Chidambaram said in a video message.
His colleague Shashi Tharoor said December 16, 1971 marked in many ways the coming of age of India as a significant power in the region.
Very few leaders have the opportunity to redraw the map of the region and yet that is what prime minister Indira Gandhi and her brave Army did in liberating Bangladesh, added the former Union minister.
The victory over Pakistan was a national triumph, not that of any party or individual and the nation today stands united and rejoices in the true nationalism of Vijay Diwas, he said.
Messages by other senior leaders, including P L Punia and Pramod Tewari, hailing the victory over Pakistan in 1971 were also posted by the Congress on its official Twitter handle.
Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi lit the ‘Swarnim Vijay Mashaal’ from the eternal flame of the National War Memorial here, marking the beginning of the 50th anniversary year celebrations of India’s victory over Pakistan in 1971.