NEW DELHI: Former high commissioner to India Muazzem Ali and 1971 war hero Colonel Quazi Sajjad Ali Zahir will be the first Bangladeshi citizens to be honoured with one of India’s highest civilian awards, the Padma Shri, on Monday.
Muazzem Ali will be honoured posthumously at a function here where other awardees named in January too will receive their awards. India and Bangladesh are celebrating the 50th anniversary of Bangladesh’s liberation and the 50th year of diplomatic ties with India as well as the centenary of Sheikh Mujibur Rehman. The Vijay Diwas celebrations of December 16 may see a high level visit from India. Bangladeshi media reports suggested that President Ram Nath Kovind may be travelling to Bangladesh for the occasion. Indian government sources said there was no clarity yet on the President’s schedule.
The celebrations have continued mainly in virtual mode during the pandemic, though both sides may be looking at in-person events in the coming weeks. December 6 is being celebrated as Maitri Diwas between the two countries. This year the occasion will be celebrated in the US, UK, Thailand among 18 other countries with a significant Bangladeshi and Indian diaspora.

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By Bhushan K

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