Chittagong: Reiterating her firm commitment to go to whatever extent necessary for a more modern army in future, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Saturday expressed her firm resolve to continue the necessary reforms and restructuring at various levels of the Bangladesh Army.
“I want to say firmly that necessary reforms and restructuring in various levels of Bangladesh Army will continue in future,” she said.
The Prime Minister was addressing a Darbar of Bangladesh Army held at Chittagong Cantonment today. Chief of Army Staff General Iqbal Karim Bhuiyan was present on the occasion.
She said that her government has been taking necessary measures as it believes in development, extension and modernization of the Army.
Urging the military to keep themselves prepared and united for protecting the country’s sovereignty, she said, “It’s my belief that you would brighten the image of the country through your own consideration, professional skills and integrity. You would also enhance your reputation further in UN peacekeeping missions overall in the international arena.”
Hasina said, “As the head of government, I’ve given Army whatever it was possible as per my capacity. I’m reiterating my firm commitment to give whatever necessary in future for a modern army.”
She also expressed her firm belief that the members of the army would discharge their duties sincerely keeping confidence in their leadership, mutual trust, being compassionate, dutifulness and thus maintaining discipline.
Mentioning that her government always wants to run the country as servants of the people rather than rulers, she said, “We’ve received your support in rendering services to the people and it’s my firm belief that it will continue aways.”
The premier said that her government is aware of the reality of the army personnel’s honest, tough and risky lives, for which their various welfare issues have always remained under active consideration of the government.
“You know that our resources are limited. Despite these, the present government has been undertaking various development programs for the army and would also continue this trend in future,” she added.
Apart from launching of the 17 Infantry Division under which one infantry brigade and two infantry battalions were set up in Sylhet, Hasina said that a composite brigade comprising two infantry units and one engineering construction battalion were also set up to ensure security and surveillance of the dreamt-of Padma Multipurpose Bridge project.
She mentioned that many modern arms, ammunitions and communication equipments have already been incorporated in the organizational structure of Bangladesh Army as per the Forces Goal-2030, which would as a whole enhance the combat power and mobility of the force.
Noting that the present government has taken all kinds of steps in modernizing the training method for turning Bangladesh Army into a modern and professional force, Hasina said that the joint training of Bangladesh Army with US, UK, 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 Army, the Prime Minister said that she has already directed the Ministry of Land to allocate 9,000 acres of land at Char Kerring while handing over of entire khas land at Jahazzia Char to Bangladesh Army is under process.
She mentioned that various necessary equipments are being procured for the army to conduct rescue operations in natural and other disasters alongside providing different training to the army personnel in enhancing their world-class skills and worthiness in tackling such disasters.
Mentioning that the present government believes in development, extension and modernization of Bangladesh Army, she said that the government has already taken necessary steps to this end and the activities of Draft National Defense Policy and Forces Goal 2030 are under process.
Highlighting various steps of the present government for modernizing Bangladesh Army, Hasina said that the arms purchase plan from Russia under its US$ one billion state credit would play a very important role in enhancing the capacity of the armed forces.
Later, addressing a Darbar of Bangladesh Navy at Bangladesh Naval Academy in Patenga, Hasina said that like other institutional forces, the members of Bangladesh Navy would also have to remain alert round the clock to face any threat for protecting the constitution and maintain the democratic process. Chief of Naval Staff Vice Admiral Farid Habib was present on the occasion.
She also urged the members of the Navy to perform their duties and responsibilities sincerely keeping confidence on their upper leadership, mutual trust, dutifulness, brotherhood and maintaining discipline.
The Premier said that the members of Navy would have to prepare themselves round the clock being united for protecting the sovereignty of the beloved country adding, “It’s my belief that you would further enhance the reputation of the country as well as brighten its image through your wisdom, professional skills and dutifulness,”
As a head of the government, Hasina reaffirmed her stance to provide whatever necessary possible for a modern navy.
Hasina mentioned that to turn Bangladesh Navy into a tri-dimensional force, her government has already commissioned two helicopters and two Marine Patrol Aircrafts at the Navy while the process for purchasing two submarines from China is at the final stage as decision to this end has already been given approval in principle.
Hasina said that her government has undertaken effective measures to make the Navy capable of facing the challenges of the 21st Century.
She mentioned the much-awaited maritime boundary verdict over Myanmar through the historic judgment of ITLOS on 14 March last year following the sincere and successful initiative of her government.
“As a result of this epoch making judgment, Bangladesh has established its sovereign rights over one 1,11,631 square kilometers area in the sea boundary creating opportunities of collecting resources from up to 200 Nautical Miles economic zone,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina said her government has also undertaken an integrated effort with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to gain the maritime boundary verdict over India in 2014.
In this context, she said that steps have been taken to strengthen and modernize the Naval Force to enhance its capability for protecting country’s huge sea and water boundary and ensuring overall security.
The Prime Minister also described various initiatives of her government undertaken for the development of the Navy.
Earlier, the Prime Minister inaugurated the ’BMA Bangabandhu Complex’ at Bangladesh Military Academy.
Sheikh Hasina laid the foundation stone of the complex in December 2009 and the construction work of the complex has been completed after about four years of continuous hard work and relentless efforts.
The complex has 48 classrooms, 30-lecture gallery, a model room, a simulator room, a laboratory, a library, various office rooms, VVIP suit, banquet hall, three plazas, car-parking, 16 stairs and 7 lifts in the complex.