Country’s armed forces must remain vigilant and ready to face any threat and uphold the democratic trend and the constitution, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday told a conference of generals.
The conference was held at the Officers’ Mess (new) of Army Headquarters in Dhaka Cantonment with the Prime Minister in the chair.
Sheikh Hasina, who is also in-charge of the Ministry of Defence, said the 10th general election was held on January 5 for constitutional obligation and to maintain the democratic process.
In this connection, Hasina mentioned that the Bangladesh Army has played a significant role in smooth and successfully holding of the election.
She said the army alongside other law enforcement agencies played an active role in holding the parliamentary elections peacefully maintaining peace and stability across the country.
People comfortably exercised their voting rights during the election due to the active presence of the Army, she said.
Putting emphasis on maintaining the chain of command in the Army, the Prime Minister said senior officers should present themselves as honest, moral and dutiful before their junior colleagues.
In this regard, she directed senior officials of the Bangladesh Army to continue discharging their duties with responsibility, brotherhood and mutual trust maintaining discipline and remaining loyal to the leadership.
“You’ll have to earn respect and loyalty of the sub-ordinates and look after their all needs, hopes and aspirations and thoughts,” Hasina said.
Recalling the great role of the Army in the Liberation War, the Prime Minister said Father of the nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman after the Independence had taken massive initiatives to develop it as a modern and well-equipped force.
Sheikh Hasina said the present government, following the path of Bangabandhu, is determined to establish a modern and well-equipped army.
She mentioned that an epoch-making development has been made in the infrastructure of the Army during the previous two tenures of her government.
Describing various programs in this regard, the premier said, the implementation of the Forces Goal 2030 has advanced to a significant level and mentioned that her government has included many avant-garde and sophisticated weapons and equipment in the Army to strengthen its combat power and mobility.
Massive change has also been brought in the organizational structure of the Army in light of the Forces Goal 2030, Hasina said.
The Prime Minister mentioned the establishment of 17 Infantry Division in Sylhet under which one brigade and two battalions are working, an Air Defense Regiment at Mirpur Cantonment and two ad-hoc mechanized brigades at Savar and in Bogra as well.
“It’s my active consideration to establish a new division at Ramu in Cox’s Bazar and an infantry division at Char Bhabanipur near Rajbari during our present tenure,“ she said.
Hasina said various equipment, including 44 avant-garde MBT-2000, 13 Armored Recovery Vehicle, 18 modern SP Guns, 5 Weapon Locating RADARs, 213 Anti-Tank Guided Weapons as well as 6 multiple launched rocket system, 260 Armored Personnel Carrier, 2 modern helicopters and 2 utility Aircrafts have been inducted to the Army to strengthen its combat power.
About the increase of posts, she said, nearly 570 new posts have been created from Captain to Lieutenant General so far to bring more dynamism into the organization.
She stressed the need for time befitting training of the members of the Army and said all measures have been taken to ensure world standard training to make them more efficient.
Sheikh Hasina said training programs in joint initiative both at home and abroad have remarkably been increased during the last five years of her government while foreign trainings - particularly in the USA, the UK, Sri Lanka and India have helped increase the efficiency and self-confidence of the Army.
Citing the contributions of members of the Army for developing the infrastructure of the country, she said, the organization has been playing a very important role in constructing flyovers, bridges, roads and highways and other infrastructures.
Besides, they stand beside the people in the time of natural disasters like flood, landslide, fire incidents and other accidents, Hasina said, adding Bangladesh army earned huge admiration of the countrymen through their noble services.
Various important responsibilities including supervision of construction works of the Padma Multipurpose Bridge have already been entrusted to the glorious Army for its professional fame and dependency, she said.
Sheikh Hasina expressed her strong belief that members of the Army would be able to accomplish such nationally important task with their sincerity and dedication.
In this regard, she hoped that the nation would witness more involvement of the Army in the activities of national development.
While talking about Peelkhana incident happened on February 25, 2009, the Prime Minister said her government has set an example in the history by completing the trial of the carnage in which 57 army officers were martyred. “I was determined to keep my commitment and we have set an example by finishing such a big trial within short time,” she said.
Recalling the role of the army in the international arena, Sheikh Hasina hoped that members of the Force would be able to more brighten the image of the country both at home and abroad through their professional efficiency and dutifulness.
The premier assured the armed forces of providing all assistance and cooperation to recast, modernize and strengthen the capability of the organization further.
She thanked the Army Chief and all members of the Force for their contribution towards advancing the trend of development of the country through the continuation of the progress of the Army despite various adverse situations.
Earlier, on her arrival at the venue, the Prime Minister was received by the Prime Minister’s Defense Adviser Major General (retd) Tarique Ahmed Siddique and Chief of Army Staff General Iqbal Karim Bhuiyan.
Armed forces must remain vigilant to face any threat: PM