Dhaka Bureau Policy Times : Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today said her government has been working to transform Bangladesh Army into a time-befitting, well-trained and modern technology and education based force to make it capable enough to face the 21st century’s geopolitical and military challenges.
“We have undertaken necessary programmes to build the army to be more efficient to face the geopolitical and military challenges of the 21st century,” she said as the chief guest in a national standard (national flag) handing over ceremony to 10 units and organizations of the Bangladesh Army.
She simultaneously said they have adopted the “Forces Goal-2030” in accordance with the “Defence Policy” taken by the Father of the Nation in 1974 to build a time-befitting, well-equipped, and modern technology and knowledge based army to keep pace with any force of the world as the Bangladesh Army has been working with other global modern forces in the UN (United Nation) peace keeping missions.
The premier joined the function from her official Ganabhaban residence here through a video conference while the concerned army officials got connected from the Savar Cantonment. On behalf of the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Chief of Army Staff General Aziz Ahmed handed over the national standard (national flag) to the respective commanders of 1,3,6,8 Engineering Battalion, 11 BIR (Bangladesh Infantry Regiments) Mechanized Battalion, BIR-12th, 13th and 15th Support Battalion, 59 East Bengal Support Battalion and School of Infantry and Tactics.
A smartly turned out contingent of Bangladesh Army gave salute to the Prime Minister through a spectacular parade.
The premier said that Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman established the Awami League (AL) and it brought the country’s independence after 24 years of struggle. “So, it is our duty to ensure the country’s development. The Bangladesh Army is the symbol of independence and sovereignty of the country. Making overall development of the army is also our duty,” she said.
Whenever the Awami League assumes office, it plays major role in development of the armed forces, she said, adding, “After coming to power in 1996, I have established two infantry brigades, special works organization, 10 battalion, National Defence College (NDC), Bangladesh Institute of Peace Support Operation Training (BIPSOT), The Armed Forces Medical College (AFMC), Military Institute of Science and Technology (MIST), Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO) Academy, and Bangladesh Infantry Regiment Centre.”
The premier said they have already set up the 17th infantry division in Sylhet, 10th infantry division in Ramu, 7th infantry division in Lebukhali and a composite bridge to oversee the security and construction work of the Padma Multipurpose Bridge.
She said that the Bangladesh Army has also been working at the Bangabandhu Bridge on the river Jamuna.
Noting that they (the government) have already made a huge progress in imparting training to army personnel, recruiting manpower and purchasing arms and equipment for the force, she said they have purchased modern gun, missile and ultra modern infantry gadget to enhance the capability of the army.
The prime minister said that it is a matter of pride for the units and organizations who have received the national flag, which is the emblem of the country’s independence, sovereignty, honour and dignity, during the “Mujib Borsho, “It is the sacred duty of every soldier to maintain the honour of the national flag,” she added.
The premier called upon the army personnel to put forward the country by upholding its constitution.
Describing Bangladesh Army as an “asset” of the country and a “symbol” of the confidence and the trust of the people, she also asked its members to be more “professionally-efficient” and “welfare-minded” with social and religious values. “Bangladesh Army is our asset and a symbol of confidence and trust of the people…so, you will have to be more competent, efficient, honest and welfare-minded being imbued with social and religious values to achieve the desired standard of professionalism,” she said.
Noting that the countrymen always received constant support of the army, Sheikh Hasina expressed her firm belief that the force will stand beside the people whenever it will be necessary in case of facing any natural disasters.
The premier however thanked the army, navy and air force personnel as they have extended their helping hands to reach relief to distressed people, make people aware of following the health guidelines and arrange burial of the Covid-19 patients.
The Prime Minister called upon all to stay protected from the possible second wave of the Covid-19 as different countries of the world, including the European nations, have been currently facing its second blow.
“The impact of the cornavirus still persists. It is apprehended that the blow from Covid-19 could be seen once again (in the country) within a few days as different countries, including the European nations, have already witnessed the onslaught of the disease afresh. So, everyone needs to be protected from it and continue the strides to increase food production.”
The premier asked all concerned to show austerity in spending public fund as the government will need huge money if the Covid-19 appears afresh with immense blow although the government has declared a huge national budget of Taka 5.68 lakh crore.
She continued: “We have given a budget of Taka 5.68 lakh crore amid the Covid-19 pandemic. It was very tough for us. Everyone should be cautious to spend public funds as we will need huge money if the coronavirus surfaces again with an enormous blow.” The money will be required to help the people by giving them foods, treatment and medicines, she said, adding, “We have to show austerity in spending public money bearing the things in mind.”
“Not a single penny can be spent beyond what we exactly need and we would have to do so considering the future,” she added.
The premier said her government has taken timely initiatives that included 31 point directives and 21 stimulus packages involving Taka 1,12 633 crore to offset the Covid-19 blow on the economy and the livelihoods. Bangladesh has achieved 5.24 percent growth in the GDP which is the highest in the South Asia, despite the fact that GDP growth in many countries is going down to zero or minus level due to the coronavirus impact.
Alongside announcing the stimulus packages, she said, the government has given cash incentives to the people of every profession to mitigate the hardship of the distressed people as the government has been untiringly working to ensure that none of the people have to endure plights due to scarcity of anything.
The Prime Minister said the government has adopted a 20-year long perspective plan and the Delta Pla-2100 mainly to ensure a beautiful life for the current and future generation that was envisioned by the Father of the Nation.