Outside a ceremony at Delhi’s India Gate on Sunday to mark 50 years of India’s momentous triumph in the 1971 war, a pre-recorded message from the late chief of military staff General Bipin Rawat, who was killed along with 12 others in a helicopter accident on December 8, was played. 

Bipin Rawat can be heard honouring the contribution of soldiers who fought and sacrificed their lives during the 1971 war, a military confrontation that took place between India and Pakistan to pave the way for the liberation of Bangladesh, in a video published by news agency ANI. 

Gen Rawat is also heard encouraging citizens to join in the festivities. Rawat closes on a positive note, “Apni senao par hai humein garv, aap milke manaye Vijay Parv”.

Rajnath Singh, India’s defence minister, spoke at the event, recalling India’s contributions to the country’s democratic transition, “India has contributed to the establishment of democracy in Bangladesh. Today we are very happy that in the last 50 years Bangladesh has progressed on the path of development. Today, I bow to the bravery, valor & sacrifice of every soldier of India’s Armed Forces, due to which India won the 1971 war. The country will always be indebted to them for their sacrifice.”

“It was decided to organise this event in a grand form, but after the untimely demise of the country’s first CDS, General Bipin Rawat, it has been decided to mark it with simplicity. On this occasion, I pay my tributes by remembering him too,” he added.

From December 12 to 13, Swarnim Vijay Parv will be observed. On December 13, Rajnath Singh and many other dignitaries, including those from Bangladesh, will attend the closing ceremony. 

The helicopter in which General Bipin Rawat, his wife Madhulika Rawat, and 11 others were travelling crashed near Coonoor, Tamil Nadu. Group Captain Varun Singh, the lone survivor of the disaster, is still in critical condition at a military hospital in Bengaluru.