Pranab says BD birth ‘most significant event’ in his public life

| Updated: October 24, 2017 11:06:15

Pranab says BD birth ‘most significant event’ in his public life

Former Indian President Pranab Mukherjee, in an interview, highlighted the birth of Bangladesh to the "most significant" event in his public life.

"To my mind it is Bangladesh, the birth of a nation of 12 or 13 crore (120 or 130 million) people in 1971. That is the most significant event since I joined public life," said Pranab to The Times of India.

The leading Indian daily published the interview on Thursday, reports UNB.

He said he still remembers that Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister, made a short statement in both Houses saying, "I am happy to inform the House that Pakistan army has surrendered to the joint command of the Indian army and the Bangladesh Mukti Bahini and now Dhaka is the free capital of free Bangladesh."

On pronouncement on the two-nation theory, the former Indian President said that will be an over-simplification of the whole issue because the two-nation theory was challenged at the very time of its pronouncement.

"It (the partition of Pakistan) once again established that mere religion cannot be the basis of a state. There are many other factors: religion, language, customs, culture and social systems," he said.

Responding to a question on Kashmir issue, he said Indira Gandhi took the wisest decision by declaring the unilateral ceasefire.

"If India had not declared unilateral ceasefire, there would have been expansion of the conflict. It would have engulfed both India and Pakistan because America was bent on protecting the unity of western Pakistan after they had lost the hope on eastern Pakistan. Soviet Russia also did not want the war to be extended," Pranab said.

Pranab Mukherjee remains in the news even after the end of his term and a long innings in public life. His book `Coalition Years' has trained the spotlight on the major events that shaped UPA governments.

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