Bangladesh today staged an extravagant Victory Day parade coinciding with the Golden Jubilee Celebrations of 1971 Independence from Pakistan with President M Abdul Hamid taking the salute while his Indian counterpart Ram Nath Kovind joining the ceremony along with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
Military contingents from three foreign countries – India, Russia and Bhutan – joined the parade, the first ever participation of foreign troops in the Victory Day ceremony since Bangladesh's independence alongside Bangladesh forces.
The contingents of the three countries took part in the march-past while their own military music bands as their officers led the troops and saluted the Bangladesh president.
The United States and Mexico sent military observer groups which too took part in the parade.
President M Abdul Hamid took the salute at the ceremony from a saluting dais while Kovind, as the guest of honour, witnessed the event along with Sheikh Hasina.
Twenty three contingents of Bangladesh's army, navy, air force and different other paramilitary units as well as non-military and utility services and ministries joined the parade.
The armed forces also displayed their defence hardware and weaponries in the ceremony at the National Parade Square alongside the march-past and the air-past, when the fighter jets and helicopters displayed their manoeuvring performances in the air.
Army chief General S M Shafiuddin Ahmed, navy chief Admiral M Shaheen Iqbal and air force Chief Marshal Shaikh Abdul Hannan accompanied President Hamid during the ceremony while he inspected the parade and then took the salutes of participating units.
Kovind is the lone foreign head of state to join the celebrations while Dhaka rolled out a red carpet as he arrived on Wednesday on a three-day visit along with his wife and daughter with a delegation.
Bangladesh invited him to the celebration as New Delhi extended its crucial support during the 1971 Liberation War while on this day in 1971 the defeated Pakistani troops unconditionally surrendered to Bangladesh-India allied force.
India was the second country to recognize Bangladesh after Bhutan while on December 16 evening, the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi announced the development in Indian parliament saying "Dhaka is now the free capital of a free country".
Kovind is set to join this evening the opening of a two-day prgramme titled "The Greatest Hero of the Glorious Victory" at Bangladesh Jatiya Sangsad complex.
The Bangladesh president will open the function as part of birth centenary celebrations of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Bangladesh this year simultaneously celebrates the 50th year of Dhaka-New Delhi diplomatic ties.