Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday hoped that Bangladesh Army personnel will serve the country sincerely with professional skills and dutifulness being inspired by the spirit of the Great War of Liberation and the ideals of the Father of the Nation.
“I firmly believe that army members, being inspired by the Liberation War spirit and Bangabandhu’s ideals, will serve the country sincerely with a combination of hard practice, professional skills and dutifulness showing unwavering trust and complete loyalty to the leadership,” she said, reports BSS.
The premier said this at the flag raising ceremony of Head Quarters 71 Mechanized Brigade, 15 and 40 East Bengals (Mechanized), 9 and 11 Bangladesh Infantry Regiments (Mechanized) held at CMP Centre and School in Savar Cantonment.
She joined the ceremony virtually from her official residence Ganabhaban in the capital.
The prime minister said, “This country is ours. Therefore, we will build this motherland in such a way that none in the world can devalue Bangladesh. We will walk as a victorious nation with having our heads high.”
Sheikh Hasina also reiterated her call to utilize every inch of land, go for savings and practice austerity sincerely to avert apprehended famine and food crisis in the coming 2023.
“We should utilize every inch of land for food production, go for savings and practice austerity. I hope that all will take up this practice,” she said.
The prime minister said that the aim of the government is to use every inch of land.
She directed every institution to cultivate on lands whatever it has for food production.
She mentioned that developed countries are suffering severely due to the Ukraine-Russia conflict and sanctions as food scarcity is showing up there.
“Bangladesh is also in the same position. That blow has already reached here. We are trying to control that,” she said.
In this connection, she said the government has given cards to one crore people for distributing rice at the price of Taka 30 per kilogram.
She also said her government is giving rice to 35 lakh people at the rate of Taka 15 per kilogram.
“Those who are not eligible to work, are being given 25-40 kilogram of rice per month free of cost considering the size of their families,” she added.
The premier asked all to remain very much cautious as the international organizations are apprehending that 2023 will be the time of famine across the world.
“But Bangladesh must not fall into the prey of that famine. For that, we have to produce food on our own lands. We have to go for savings and practice austerity,” she said.
On behalf of the prime minister, Chief of Army Staff General S M Shafiuddin Ahmed hoisted the flag. He also gave a vote of thanks.
The bridge and regiments also gave a state salute to the prime minister.
At the outset of the ceremony, a video documentary on the mechanized brigade and regiments was screened.
Earlier, the premier witnessed an orderly and graceful parade demonstrated by the members of different brigades and regiments of Bangladesh Army.
Sheikh Hasina said the army has always stood by the people during any calamity in the country.
She also mentioned the army’s commendable role in the recent flash floods in Sylhet, Sunamganj and Netrakona districts and sincerely extended her gratitude to all the members of this force.
The head of government said army personnel have played a leading role in the fight against Coronavirus pandemic through “Operation Covid Shield”.
Regarding the mechanization of brigades and battalions, Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh Army’s infantry brigades and a significant number of infantry battalions have been mechanized to achieve specific objectives.
Mentioning that in the future few more mechanized brigades and mechanized battalions will be established in the army, she said, “I strongly believe that if this plan is implemented, the capability and excellence of the army will be enhanced further.”
The prime minister hoped that incorporation of these mechanized units will add a new dimension and play an important role in national security and tackling threats.
Since the ancient times, she said it has been customary to carry the “flag” as a symbol of national status on the battlefield.
Highlighting that the flag is a symbol of the nation’s freedom, sovereignty, honor and dignity, she said, “Therefore, it is the sacred duty of every soldier to protect the honor of the flag and the country.”
Sheikh Hasina said in 1973, Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman incorporated the then state-of-the-art supersonic MiG-21 fighter jets, helicopters, transport aircraft, air defense radar etc to the air force and formulated a defense policy in 1974.
But unfortunately, after the brutal killing of Bangabandhu and most of his family members, the allies of the defeated powers of 1971 stigmatized the glorious history of independence and hindered the progress of the country’s development, she added.
After 21 long years, she said her party Awami League formed the government in 1996 and presented the accurate history of the War of Liberation to the new generation.
The premier also highlighted the various initiatives taken by her government to modernize the military.
She said in 1998, they established National Defense College and Military Institute of Science and Technology, while Bangladesh Institute of Peace Support Operations Training and Armed Forces Medical College in 1999.
“We were the first to recruit women officers in the Army, Navy and Air Force in 2000,” she mentioned.
After assuming power again in 2009, Sheikh Hasina said they are taking and implementing short, medium and long-term plans to establish an up-to-date military force with technological knowledge.
She said the government is modernizing, expanding and developing the Army, Navy and Air Force through the implementation of “Forces Goal-2030”.
She also said in 2016, they established the Bangladesh Peace Building Centre and added that they have also formulated the “National Defense Policy, 2018” by adapting the defense policy framed by the Father of the Nation.
She mentioned that they have established Aerospace and Aviation University and converted the CMHs into state-of-the-art hospitals.
The prime minister said that her government has established 17 infantry division in Sylhet, 10 infantry division in Ramu and 7 infantry division in Barisal to strengthen the defense system of the country.
In the last four years, 3 brigades and 58 small/large units under various formations have been established, while 27 small/large units have been formed as ad hoc and 9 organizations have been restructured, she added.
Besides, Sheikh Russel cantonment has recently been established in Mawa-Jazira, while new cantonments are in progress in Mithamoin, Rajbari and Trishal, she said.
In addition, construction of Army Aviation Forward Bases at Chattogram and Cox’s Bazar as well as Aviation School at Lalmonirhat is also in progress, she added.
The prime minister said that her government has introduced new composite brigade and para commando brigade in the army as well.