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Coast Guard to be transformed into 3 dimensional force: PM Sheikh Hasina

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday said the government will transform the Bangladesh Coast Guard into a three-dimensional force by inducting new technology and modern equipment.

“We have already given in-principle approval for the formation of an Aviation Wing with the purchase of 2 helicopters which will make the Coast Guard a three-dimensional force,” she said, reports UNB.

The prime minister said this while addressing the 29th founding anniversary of the Bangladesh Coast Guard at the BCG headquarters at Agargaon in the city.

She said that the government has recently approved a new project to build 9 replacement ships for Bangladesh Coast Guard.

Besides, she said, approval has been given for the procurement of 4 more OPVs, 2 maritime version helicopters for deep sea patrolling by the Coast Guard for the safety of the public engaged in sea-based professions and waterways.

“In order to modernize and strengthen the Bangladesh Coast Guard, advanced technology ships, maritime surveillance systems, hovercrafts and high-speed boats are going to be added to this force very soon,” she said.

The prime minister expressed her optimism that through the addition of all these ships with modern technology and the development of communication systems, this force will acquire more capabilities to face the challenges of the 21st century and will play a significant role in building a smart Bangladesh.

In addition, she said, plans have been adopted to increase the current strength to 15,000 manpower gradually as per the Vision 2030 and Vision 2041 to modernise the force to provide blue economy and security at sea.

“To build the smart Bangladesh I believe that this force will play special role,” she said.

Hasina said a dockyard is also being built at Gazaria in Munshiganj for the construction, repair and maintenance of the force’s vessels and ships.

She mentioned that some 16 vessels including four OPVs (Offshore Patrol Vessels) and 138 boats have been inducted in the BCG fleet.

Stating that the Awami League government has always been directly involved in the formation and development of Bangladesh Coast Guard, she said it had emerged as a force in context of a bill brought by AL in the Jatiya Sangsad in 1994 as the then opposition party.

Assuming power in 1996, she said, the AL government took a massive initiative in expanding the Coast Guard’s activities in the country’s coastal areas by providing land for its various zones, different types of vessels and building infrastructure.

Following this, she added, since 2009, various infrastructures including coastal crisis management centre, accommodation of officers and sailors of bases, officers’ mess, sailors’ quarters and administrative buildings have been constructed at Coast Guard stations and outposts in coastal and remote areas of the country.

Recalling the initiative of Bangladesh’s founding father Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Hasina said Bangabandhu framed “The Territorial Waters and Maritime Zone Act” in 1974 to establish the legal rights of countrymen over the sea and marine resources.

She said that even the United Nations (UN) formulated such a law in 1982.

She said until adoption of the law by the UN, the cases, not only in the region but also in Europe and other places across the globe, would have been settled following the law enacted by Bangabandhu.

The prime minister said her government has established country’s rights on a vast maritime area after winning legal battles with neighbouring India and Myanmar maintaining friendly relations.

She also reiterated her vow to transform Bangladesh into a developed, prosperous and Smart Bangladesh by 2041.

Hasina also inaugurated Bangladesh Coast Guard Vsatnet Communication System and newly constructed six physical infrastructures at the BCG stations at Kutubdia, Maheshkhali, Mirsarai, Sandwip, Nidraskina and Shahpari Outpost.

The PM also conferred 10 Bangladesh Coast Guard Medals, 10 Bangladesh Coast Guard (Service) Medals, 10 President Coast Guard Medals and 10 President Coast Guard (Service) Medals to at least 40 BCG officers, sailors and civilians for their bravery.

The theme of this year’s founding anniversary has been set as Smart Bangladesh, Smart Coast Guard.

Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan, Public Security Division Secretary of the Home Ministry Md Mustafizur Rahman and BCG Director General Rear Admiral Mir Ershad Ali were present at the function.

At the outset of the programme, a smartly turned out contingent of the Bangladesh Coast Guard also gave a state-salute to the prime minister.

A short video documentary on Coast Guard Vsatnet System was screened.

Later, the prime minister enjoyed a cultural programme there.