Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Friday said that it is a proven fact that neighbouring India remains a friend of Bangladesh since 1971.
"It is proved that the neighbouring India is our friend since 1971. During our Liberation War in 1971 India helped us by giving us arms, ammunition, training and shelter to our refugees," she said.
Sheikh Hasina, also the President of the ruling Awami League, made this remark while addressing a mass reception accorded to her at Suhrawardy Udyan in the capital by the Jatiya Nagarik Committee (National Citizens' Committee), a platform of noted citizens including intellectuals, poets, writers, teachers, journalists and cultural personalities.
The Prime Minister was accorded the civic reception for striking the Land Boundary deal with India and for her outstanding achievements at national level as well.
Sheikh Hasina said that the then world leaders thought if the country gets independence it will become a bottomless basket but now the country is a role model for development.
"Bangladesh is no more a bottomless basket. Now the basket of Bangladesh is filled with various developments. Bangladesh is a role model of development in the world," declared the Prime Minister.
Sheikh Hasina dedicated the reception accorded to her to the countrymen. "Most of the successes have been achieved during the present government as the people gave Awami League the mandate," she said.
Sheikh Hasina termed the Land Boundary Agreement ratification, which has been unanimously passed by the Indian parliament, a political and diplomatic success of the Awami League government.
"No third party is required to implement the agreement. We have solved the longstanding issue through bilateral discussions. The target of our government is to make regional connectivity to build a developed nation," she added.
After arrival of the Prime Minister at 4:10pm, she was welcomed with the national anthem at the reception venue. Eminent writer and poet Syed Shamsul Haque presided over the programme while Professor Emeritus Anisuzzaman read out the citation for the Prime Minister in the programme. A theme song composed by Syed Shamsul Haque on the accomplishments of Sheikh Hasina in politics over the years was sung in a chorus.
Syed Shamsul Haque gave Sheikh Hasina an honorary title 'Deshratno' on behalf of the NCC saying that it should be used before her name.
Country's leading intellectuals and eminent citizens highly applauded the changes in the socioeconomic and political arenas of the country under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, saying she is playing the role of a "torchbearer" of the nation to move Bangladesh forward to achieve the dream of independence.
"Many people have a negative way of thinking about the country's politics, economy and overall development and the media by and large give them importance. But they have never focused on the real situation that has taken shape in the socioeconomic, political and cultural arenas and even in sports arena under the prudent, steadfast and firm leadership of Sheikh Hasina over the years," they said.
She is working with utmost devotion, sincerity and mental strength to materialize the dream of Bangabandhu and revive the spirit of the War of Liberation in the country, they said.
Noted singer Mita Haq and Mohiuzzaman Chowdhury enthralled the audience with Tagore song -- "Aji Bangladesher Hridoy Hote" -- while Bulbul Maholanobish and others rendered Nazrul song -- "Mora Jhanjar Moto Uddam" -- with dance drama directed by noted dancer Shamim Ara Nipa.
Eminent historian Professor Muntasir Mamun, economist Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman, sociologist Dr Anupam Sen, Shyamoli Nasreen Chowdhury, widow of martyred physician Alim Chowdhury, Bangladesh Bank Governor Dr Atiur Rahman, valiant Freedom Fighter Nasir Uddin Yusuf Bachchu and former captain of Bangladesh national cricket team Akram Khan spoke on the occasion.
The NCC also invited the pro-liberation war political parties, organisations and individuals to the programme.