Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Tuesday that India and Bangladesh have scripted a “golden chapter of bilateral ties” and “given new dimension and direction to their partnership” due to the increasing trust between the two countries. Modi made the remark in a video message to mark the birth centenary celebrations of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, one of the founding fathers of Bangladesh and a freedom fighter in the 1971 war.

Modi said “Bangabandhu”, as Rehman was called, devoted every moment of his life towards bringing Bangladesh out of the phase of devastation and genocide. The Pakistan Army was accused of perpetrating genocide and mass rape on the citizens of East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) during the war.

“We are all witnessing that how making terror and violence weapons of politics and diplomacy destroys a society and a nation,” Modi said in perhaps a reference to Pakistan, PTI reported. “The world is also watching where the supporters of terror and violence are currently placed and in what state they are, while Bangladesh is scaling new heights.”

“We all are well aware, how a repressive and cruel regime, disregarding all democratic values, unleashed a reign of injustice on ‘Bangla Bhumi’ and devastated its people,” referring to the government of Yahya Khan in West Pakistan in 1970-’71.

Modi said Rehman gave a great message to the world of the 21st century, by turning Bangladesh into a positive and progressive society. Modi said Rehman was clear that no country’s development can be founded on “hatred and negativity”. He added that Bangladesh has made much progress in many fields like skill, education, health, and women’s empowerment.

“I am also happy to mention that in last five-six years, India and Bangladesh have scripted a golden chapter of bilateral ties and given new dimension and direction to our partnership,” Modi said. “This is because of increasing trust between the two countries that we have been able to amicably resolve complex issues such as land Boundary and maritime boundary.”

The prime minister said 2021 will mark 50 years of the liberation of Bangladesh, and in 2022, India will complete 75 years of Independence. Modi said the shared heritage of the two countries comes from intellectuals like Rabindranath Tagore, Kazi Nazrul Islam, Ustad Alauddin Khan, Lalon Shah, Jibanananda Das and Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar.

The prime minister was scheduled to visit Dhaka this week to take part in the grand celebrations of Rehman’s birth centenary, but his visit was cancelled, and the celebrations toned down in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.