Rajnath came up with the remarks while interacting with Indian war veterans and Mukti Jodhas of Bangladesh in New Delhi as part of Swarnim Vijay Varsh.

During that time, he also paid rich tributes to the brave soldiers, sailors and air warriors who ensured victory in 1971 war.

He remembered the heroes of the Indian Army who ensured a historic victory, namely General (later Field Marshal) Sam Manekshaw, Lt Gen Jagjit Singh Aurora (then General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Command), Lt Gen JFR Jacob and Air Marshal Idris Hassan Latif and others.

“These heroes included Hindus, Muslims, Parsis, Sikhs and one Jew. This is a proof of India’s firm belief towards giving equal respect to all religions,” he said, adding that all these brave soldiers belonged to different states. However, it was the feeling of Indians which made them act as a unit.”

On the occasion, Rajnath Singh mixed the soil collected from different locations of major battles fought during the war to commemorate the golden jubilee of 1971 war victory.

He described it as a symbol of ‘Unity in Diversity’.

The collected soil will be used in the construction of a proposed memorial dedicated to the 1971 war victory.

Rajnath Singh also released a coffee table book titled ‘The 1971 War: An Illustrated History’.

The book has been compiled in six chapters and includes some first-hand experiences of the war veterans.

Chief of the Army Staff General MM Naravane, Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral R Hari Kumar, defence secretary Ajay Kumar, other senior civil and military officers of Ministry of Defence and families of the veterans and members of Bangladesh delegation were present on the occasion.