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A modern BAF by 2021: PM

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A Correspondent
Jessore: Planning to make Bangladesh Air Force more modern, strong and effective within 2021, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday said that very soon new aircraft and helicopters will be inducted in the air force.
“Agreement has been completed to induct five new MI-171 helicopters, nine basic trainer aircraft, three transport trainer aircraft, two maritime search and rescue helicopters and 16 combat trainer aircraft. These will be included in the air force very soon,” she said.
The Prime Minister stated this while addressing the Winter President Parade of 70 Flight Cadet Course of Bangladesh Air Force held at the Jessore BAF Academy Parade Ground.
A total of 42 flight cadets including 27 flight cadets from 70 Flight Cadet Course and 15 cadets from 14 SSC & SPSSC were commissioned. Among them, six were female cadets.
Hasina asked the newly commissioned officers of the Air Force to carry out their duties of safeguarding the country’s hard-earned independence imbued with the spirit of patriotism.
She also urged the Air Force members to develop themselves as qualified successors, saying they are the future coxs of the force.
Recalling the history of huge sacrifice of the millions of lives for the cause of country’s independence, the Prime Minister urged the new officers to reflect the motto of keeping air space free through their works and thinking.
She also recalled the glorious history of the air force members who started attacks targeting the mighty invading forces during the war of liberation with only one Aluet Helicopter, one DC-3 and one Auter Plane.
After the independence, Hasina said, Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had taken steps to develop a smart and efficient Air Force for the country realizing the importance of having a powerful, modern and capable force suitable to safeguard country’s independence and sovereignty.
Following his footprints, she mentioned that during the 1996-2001 tenure of her government, the fourth generation MIG-29, C-130 aircraft and high-powered and avant-gadre Air Defense RADAR System were inducted to further develop and modernize the Air Force.
The Prime Minister said that after assuming the office again in 2009, her government added modern fighter plane F-7 BG-1, MI-171 SH helicopter, and ultra-modern Air Defense System to the force.
Besides, she said, the government also added Surface to Air Missile System in the Air Force while high powered new Air Defense RADAR System has been set up at Cox’s Bazar to monitor the exclusive economic zone in the maritime boundary areas.
Stressing the need for strengthening training activities of the members of the air force, Hasina said Jet Trainer K-8W plane, procured from China, has already begun training activities while construction of the Bangabandhu Complex with ultra-modern facilities at the Air Force Academy has been progressing fast.
She also said that the government has set up helicopter overhaul plant in Dhaka and the Bangabandhu Aeronautical Centre has been established at the Air Base Bangabandhu.
Citing the role of the Air Force personnel in the international arena, she said they earned acclamation of the world leaders through their dutifulness and professionalism in establishing world peace.
Bangladesh Air Force has been successfully completing four thousand flying hours every year under the UN Security Activities despite various limitations, she added.
In this connection, the Prime Minister mentioned that her government was working to increase contingent of cargo planes and participation of the Air Force members in policymaking level at the UN Peacekeeping Mission.
She said steps have been taken to increase the number of Air Force members at the UN Peacekeeping Mission while manpower is increasing and opportunities are being created for promotion with the setting up of new units in the force.
Hasina also appreciated the contribution of the Air Force in tackling natural disasters like flood, cyclone and tidal surge alongside safeguarding national security of the country and said that they are relentlessly working to this end.
The capability of the Air Force has been gradually increasing with the addition of new planes and helicopters to the force under the Forces Goal-2030, she said.
The Prime Minister mentioned her firm determination to maintain the trend of developing the Air Force and said that her government would build the force as strategically modern, strong, powerful and effective one.
The Prime Minister as the chief guest reviewed the smartly turned out parade and took salute at the impressive march past.
She also handed over trophies, certificates and flying badges among the flight cadets.
Flight cadet wing under officer Dhrubo Sarker of 70 FCC was presented with the coveted 'Sword of Honour' and 'Commandant's Trophy' for his best all round performance and general service training respectively.
Flight cadet Md Ishtiaque Nafiz Chowdhury received the 'Bir Shreshto Matiur Rahman Trophy' for his best performance in flying training.
Flight cadet sergeant Sangeet Tarafder received the 'Chief of Air Staff Trophy' for his best all round performance in ground branch.
Number 02 Squadron was adjudged the 'Champion Squadron' and was awarded the Academy Colour for overall performance.
Flight cadet wing under officer Dhrubo Sarker commanded the parade. The parade was followed by a spectacular fly past of different aircraft of BAF Academy.
Earlier, Chief of Air Staff Air Marshal Muhammad Enamul Bari and Commandant of BAF Academy Air Commodore M Sayed Hossain received the Prime Minister on her arrival at the BAF Academy Parade ground.