The Congress on Tuesday formed a former defence minister AK Antony-led committee to oversee the 50th-anniversary celebrations of the 1971 war that led to Pakistan’s dismemberment and Bangladesh’s creation. The panel will also include Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh, former Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar, ex- Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, and former Union minister Jitendra Singh.
“The Congress President has approved the formation of the committee to plan and coordinate the activities of the Indian National Congress to commemorate the historic 50th anniversary of the Bangladesh Liberation War won in 1971, which holds testimony to the special relationship between our two countries,” the party said in a statement.
Congress leader Indira Gandhi was the Prime Minister when India defeated Pakistan in the Bangladesh liberation war.
The formation of the Congress panel comes days after the government went all out to mark the Vijay Diwas that is observed annually on December 16 to celebrate the liberation of Bangladesh from Pakistan. Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the National War Memorial in New Delhi to mark the anniversary. The government has announced celebrations to commemorate the golden jubilee of the 1971 war. Events will be conducted across India and war veterans will be felicitated throughout the year.
The war also ended with the largest military surrender after World War Two.
Faced by an aggressive ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, which thrives on nationalism, the Congress is keen to reclaim the legacy of Indira Gandhi, who steered India through the 1971 war.