India Chief of the Army Staff General Manoj Mukund Naravane (Photo by PRAKASH SINGH/AFP via Getty Images)

Indian Army chief Gen MM Naravane on Thursday paid tributes to the fallen heroes of Bangladesh’s 1971 Liberation War after arriving in the country on a five-day visit to further strengthen the close and fraternal ties existing between the Armed Forces of the two nations.

Naravane is visiting Dhaka at the invitation of his Bangladeshi counterpart, Gen Aziz Ahmed. The visit comes less than two weeks after Prime Minister Narendra Modi travelled to the neighbouring country.

The Chief of Army Staff paid tributes to the fallen heroes of the 1971 Liberation War by laying a wreath at the altar of Shikha Anirban in Dhaka Cantonment.

“Gen Narawane on 1st day of his 5-day visit to #Bangladesh paid tributes to the martyrs of the Liberation War at the #ShikhaAnirban today,” Additional Directorate General of Public Information, IHQ of MoD (Army), tweeted.   He was welcomed with a guard of honour at Senakunj.

“#COAS will be meeting the three Service Chiefs of Bangladesh’s #ArmedForces,” it tweeted. The Indian Army chief will share his experience during the seminar on United Nations Peace Support Operations. He will also witness the culmination exercise, hardware display and closing ceremony of the joint military Exercise Shantir Ogroshena, a multilateral UN-mandated counter-terrorism exercise from April 4 to 12, the Indian Embassy here said in a statement ahead of the visit.

Besides the armies of Bangladesh and India, the exercise is being participated by Bhutan and Sri Lanka along with observers from the US, the UK, Turkey and Saudi Arabia. The visit will further strengthen the close and fraternal ties existing between the Armed Forces of the two countries, it said. The Army chief will also interact with Bangladesh’s Foreign Minister A K Abdul Momen on April 11.

“This visit from April 8 to 12 will further deepen the bilateral relationships between the two armies and act as a catalyst for closer coordination and cooperation between the two countries on a host of strategic issues,” Army Spokesperson Colonel Aman Anand said in New Delhi.

The year 2021 marks the 50th anniversary of the liberation of Bangladesh and the birth centenary of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. In reflection of close ties, India is also hosting a number of events to mark the 50th anniversary of the 1971 war that led to the liberation of Bangladesh.

Around 93,000 Pakistani troops had surrendered before the joint forces of the Indian Army and the “Mukti Bahini” on December 16, 1971 that paved the way for the birth of Bangladesh.  The Army chief is also scheduled to visit the Mujibur Rahman memorial museum in Dhanmondi where he will pay tributes to the founding father of that country.