First Army formation to reach Dhaka during 1971 Bangladesh war celebrates 60 years 

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The first Army formation marked 60 years of the war, paying tributes to the soldiers at the Shillong War Memorial. Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The first Army formation marked 60 years of the war, paying tributes to the soldiers at the Shillong War Memorial. Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The first Army formation to reach Dhaka, formerly Dacca, during the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War celebrated 60 years of service to the nation on April 24. 

The HQ 101 Area was raised on the outskirts of Meghalaya’s capital Shillong in 1963 as the 101 Communication Zone soon after the Chinese aggression. It went beyond its role of providing logistic support to all formations and units in the northeast to take part in active combat. 

Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The Area undertook counter-insurgency operations in Mizoram from 1966-69. During the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War, it took part in operations in the Sylhet and Mymensingh districts of present-day Bangladesh, then East Pakistan. 

It was the first formation to reach Dhaka on the morning of December 16, 1971, leading to the surrender by Pakistan that afternoon, earning it the name “First in Dacca”. 

“Over time, HQ 101 Area has evolved to provide logistic support in remote and challenging terrain in border areas across the northeast. It has contributed immensely in nation-building by aiding infrastructure development, providing humanitarian aid and ensuring outreach to remote villages,” a defence statement said. 

The celebration on Monday commenced with a solemn ceremony to pay tributes to the soldiers at the Shillong War Memorial by the Army’s Eastern Commander, Lt Gen Rana Pratap Kalita. Major General R.K. Jha, the officiating General Officer Commanding (GOC) of 101 Area and all soldiers also paid tributes. 

Lt Gen Kalita praised the soldiers for carrying forward the legacy of dedicated service. He flagged in a motorcycle rally organised by the HQ 101 Area. The rally, flagged off on April 9 by Meghalaya Governor Phagu Chauhan, traversed through Meghalaya, Assam, Mizoram, Manipur, Nagaland, and Arunachal Pradesh in celebration of the “spirit of patriotism”. 

As a part of the celebration, a special cover and stamp were released and the busts of Maj. Gen. Gurbaksh Singh Gill and Maj. Gen. Gandharv Nagra were unveiled on Monday. The two, who were the GOCs of 101 Area, had helped curate the victory in the 1971 war, Army officials said.

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