Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said it was a matter of great pride for India to receive BJP leader Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s award for his contribution in Bangladesh’s Liberation War.
“It is an inspiration for so many people like me, Bharat Ratna Atal Bihari Vajpayee is being honoured by Bangladesh,” he said during his speech at the award ceremony in Bangabhaban.
President Abdul Hamid handed over the honorary in a gala ceremony hosted at the Darbar Hall of the Bangabhaban in presence of distinguished dignitaries.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Speaker of the parliament Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury and leader of the opposition Raushan Ershad were among the guests present at the programme.
President Abdul Hamid said he was delighted to be conferring the honour to the Bharatratna and Padmabhushan Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
In her speech, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina paid tribute to the former Indian premier and recalled his contribution during Bangladesh’s Liberation War. “We are honouring ourselves through honouring him”.
Modi said the occasion could have been different if Vajpayee, with his health permitting, would have been able to receive the award in person.
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President Hamid greeted Modi after the latter reached Bangabhaban around 12:40pm. After a short meeting between the two, everyone proceeded to the Darbar Hall for the ceremony.
After the national anthem was played of both countries, Cabinet Secretary M Musharraf Hossain Bhuiyan read through a short biography of the now ailing Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
Modi later had lunch in the Bangabhaban hosted by President Hamid.