He joined the celebrations of Bangabandhu’s birth centenary and the golden jubilee of Bangladesh’s independence at the National Parade Ground in Dhaka on the opening day of the 10-day programmes on Wednesday.

Describing him as one of the “giants of South Asian history”, Solih said Bangabandhu’s action was “pivotal in securing an independent destiny for the people of Bangladesh”.

The Father of the Bengali Nation will “always have an honoured place in the hearts of those who yearn for democracy and freedom”, he said.

The Maldivian president said Bangabandhu was an “uncompromising advocate” of democracy and political freedom. “He championed those values, often in powerful words, that resonated with people from all walks of life.”

Solih referenced Bangabandhu’s six-point programme that laid the foundation for Bangladesh’s independence and provided the underlying values of the country’s constitution.

He also said Bangabandhu’s March 7, 1971 speech, a testament to his skill and monumental historic standing, “effectively declared” Bangladesh’s independence.

UNESCO has recorded the speech on the Memory of the World Register as documentary heritage.

“Despite the tragic circumstances of his death,” Solih added, “his legacy will not be forgotten.”

The Maldivian leader congratulated Bangladesh on the “remarkable” pace of development.

He thanked the government for its gestures towards the Maldives’ development “with respect to our formal bilateral engagements, and the care and concern you have shown for the resident Maldivian community in Bangladesh”.

Solih also thanked Bangladesh for sending medical teams to aid the Maldives.

The president emphasised cooperation in tackling climate change because both the low-lying countries face a threat from the rising seas due to global warming.

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