Indian ambassador Ajit Gupte, Tourism Ministry representative Ghada Shalaby and Bangladesh ambassador Monirul Islam
The beautiful Baron Palace in Heliopolis served as the backdrop for the embassies of India and Bangladesh celebrating the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relationship and the golden jubilee of Bangladesh’s Independence.
A galaxy of prominent personalities from Egyptian think-tanks, academic circles, media houses, businessmen, and the diplomatic community attended the celebration at the Baron Palace. The attendees included Deputy Minister for Tourism Ghada Shalaby as well as members of the Indian and Bangladeshi diasporas.
Ambassador of Bangladesh to Egypt Monirul Islam gave a speech where he thanked India for the warm hospitality and support it showed his country when it declared independence in 1971.
Islam said that under the visionary leadership of Bangladeshi PM Sheikh Hasina and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi, Bangladesh and India are now in a golden era of cooperation.
The ambassador also recalled the personal bond between President Anwar El-Sadat and Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, saying, “Egypt was among the first Arab countries to recognise Bangladesh.”
Ambassador of India to Egypt Ajit Gupte, for his part, gave a speech where he recalled the horrors of 1971, when “over 3 million Bengalis were brutally massacred and as much as 10 million were exiled from their very own home to India.”
The ambassador spoke about how India supported its Bengali brethren, hosting them and supporting their Mukti Bahini fighters, adding that prime minister Indira Gandhi herself toured in many countries and garnered international support for Bangladesh’s liberation.
The ambassador recalled his tenure in Dhaka as a diplomat, and commented that Bangladesh has transformed itself from a war-torn country to a flourishing welfare state. He also highlighted the close bilateral relationship between India and Bangladesh in several fields such as trade, economy, connectivity, and security. Gupte pointed that the India-Bangladesh land boundary and maritime agreements are living examples of how countries can resolve issues in a mature and amicable manner.
The event featured artistic performances by the Bangladeshi diaspora, the Indian Contemporary Dance group Anveshana, as well as a film screening on India-Bangladesh diplomatic ties.
Anveshana, led by its founder Sangeeta Sharma, dazzled the audience with a number of dance shows mixing Eastern and Western dance forms, combining the essence of yoga, classical dances and martial art forms.
Sponsored by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), Anveshana performed concerts on 2 December at Ismailia Cultural Palace in Ismailia, on 4 December at Port Said Cultural Palace in Port Said, and on 7 December at Alexandria's Sayed Darwish Theatre.
The grand finale of the event was holding an exhibition of Indian and Bangladeshi traditional handicrafts and touristic souvenirs that captured the attention of the attendees.