Sylhet: Urging the members of Bangladesh Army to stay ready round the clock for protecting the country’s sovereignty, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday reiterated her firm commitment to provide in the future whatever is necessary for a modern army.
“It’s my belief you’ll brighten the country’s image through your careful consideration, professional skills and integrity. And also you’ll further enhance your reputation in the UN peacekeeping mission in international arena,” she said, addressing the Darbar after raising the flag of the newly set up 17 Infantry Division at Jalalabad Cantonment.
The Prime Minister formally announced the raising of the 17 Infantry Division of Bangladesh Army by hoisting the flag of the division at Jalalabad Cantonment here. She also released balloons on the occasion.
At the function, the flags of the newly formed 360 Infantry Brigade and the 32 and 33 Bangladesh Infantry Regiments were also raised.
Finance Minister AMA Muhith hoisted the flag of the 360 Infantry Brigade, while Chief Whip of Jatiya Sangsad Abdus Shahid and Chief of Army Staff General Iqbal Karim Bhuiyan raised the flags of the 32 and 33 Bangladesh Infantry Regiments respectively.
Hasina said: “As a head of the government, I’ve given the Army whatever was possible as per my capacity. I’m reiterating my firm commitment to give whatever necessary for a modern army in the future.”
She also expressed her firm belief that the members of the Army would sincerely discharge their duties keeping confidence in their leadership, with mutual trust, compassion and dutifulness, and thus maintaining discipline.
Mentioning that her government always wants to run the country as the servants of people, the Prime Minister said: “We’ve received your support in rendering services to people and it’s my firm belief that it’ll continue all the time.”
She said that her government is aware about the reality of the Army personnel’s honest, tough and risky life, for which their various welfare issues have always remained under its active consideration.
“You know, our resources are limited. Despite this, the present government has been undertaking various development programmes for the Army and will also continue this in the future.”
Apart from launching the 17 Infantry Division under which one infantry brigade and two infantry battalions were set up, Hasina said a composite brigade comprising two infantry units and one engineering construction battalion will be set up soon to ensure security and surveillance of the dream Padma Multipurpose Bridge project. “Such progress of development will also continue in the future,”
She mentioned that many modern arms, ammunition and communication equipment have already been incorporated in the organisational structure of Bangladesh Army as per the Forces Goal-2030, which would as a whole enhance the combat the power and mobility of Army.
“In this context, I want to firmly say that necessary reforms and restructuring at different levels of the Bangladesh Army would also continue in the future,” she added.
The premier mentioned that the present government has taken all kinds of steps for modernising the training method for turning the Bangladesh Army into a modern, professional force.
She said the joint training of the Bangladesh Army with the United States, the United Kingdom, Sri Lanka and India has enhanced the confidence of the Bangladeshi army officials and soldiers to a great extent.
Considering the scarcity of training areas of the Army, Hasina said that she has already directed the Ministry of Land to allocate 9,000 acres of land at Char Kerring while handing over of the entire khas land at Jahazzia Char to Bangladesh Army is under process.
She mentioned that various necessary equipment are being procured for the army to conduct rescue operations during natural calamities and other disasters alongside providing different training to the army personnel in enhancing their world-class skills and worthiness in dealing with such disasters.
The Prime Minister noted that the Bangladesh Army has been given various important tasks, including the recent charge of surveillance of the Padma Bridge construction project, due to their professional skills. “I hope to see your involvement in national development activities to a big extent in the future,” she said.
“The present government believes in development, extension and modernization of Bangladesh Army,” she said, adding that it has already taken necessary steps to this end and the works on the Draft National Defense Policy and Forces Goal 2030 are under process.
Highlighting various steps of the present government for modernising the Bangladesh Army, Hasina said the arms purchase plan from Russia under its one billion dollar state credit would play a very important role in enhancing the capacity of the armed forces.
She also mentioned that the government has increased the donation for the army personnel for receiving treatment abroad to Tk 5 lakh, given approval in principle to increase the job duration from soldier to Major ranks by two years as well as upgrading the JCO post to 1st class and sergeant post to 2nd class, initially introducing admission of female soldiers at Army Medical Corps from this year for the first time in Army and recently introducing medical dispensaries at 11 district Armed Forces Board under the auspices of Senakalyan Sangstha.
Finance Minister AMA Muhith, Minister without Portfolio Suranjit Sengupta, Home Minister Dr Mohiuddin Khan Alamgir, Shipping Minister Shajahan Khan, Chief Whip Abdus Shahid, PM's Defence Advisor Maj Gen (retd) Tariq Ahmed Siddique, Chief of Naval Staff Vice-Admiral Farid Habib, Chief of Air Staff Air Marshal Muhammad Inamul Bari and PM’s Press Secretary Abul Kalam Azad were present on the occasion.
Besides, the newly-formed brigade and two infantry battalions, a brigade of 33 Infantry Division would remain deployed under the new 17 Infantry Division.
The new Infantry Division will start its activities from the Jalalabad Cantonment and later be shifted to Shib Bazar area near the BKSP in Sylhet.