Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today directed members of Bangladesh Army to keep a “constant vigil” to face any “internal and external threats” for safeguarding the country’s constitution and sovereignty,BSS reports.
“You will have to always remain ready to face any ‘internal or external threats’ unitedly for protecting the sacred constitution and sovereignty of the motherland,” she said.
The prime minister was addressing the flag-raising ceremony of the newly-established Headquarter 11 Infantry Brigade along with eight new units under 17 Infantry Division of the Bangladesh Army at Jalalabad Cantonment here this afternoon.
Describing Bangladesh Army as an “asset” of the country and a “symbol” of the confidence and the trust of the people, the premier 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 professionally-efficient and welfare-minded consisting of social and religious values,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina also advised the members of Bangladesh Army to discharge their responsibility by maintaining “discipline” and keeping trust in the “senior leadership”.
“I believe that you would maintain discipline and accomplish your tasks by working with utmost sincerity, mutual trust, dutifulness, sympathy and goodwill by keeping confidence in the senior leadership,” she said.
Paying rich tributes to Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the premier said Bangabandhu had realized the necessity of a “developed” and “professional” army.
“That’s why Bangabandhu said giving directives in 1974 that “Padma, Meghna and Jamuna rivers have divided the entire country into three parts, and accordingly, the army will have to be engaged in three independent and capable commands.”
Sheikh Hasina said her government after taking office in 1996 had taken a plan to build Bangladesh Army as a “knowledge-based” professional force in the light of the far-reaching defence policy of Bangabandhu.
To execute the plan, the PM said, her government since 1996 took steps to raise “moral and psychological strength” as well as professional knowledge of every member of the army side by side with its infrastructural development.
The 17 Infantry Division was founded in Sylhet on September 17 in 2013 and in its continuation, the newly-established Headquarter 11 Infantry Brigade along with 8 new units started their journey today.
Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith, Agriculture Minister Begum Matia Chowdhury, Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid, Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader, PM’s Security Adviser Maj Gen (retd) Tariq Ahmed Siddiq, Chief of Army Staff General Abu Belal Muhammad Shafiul Huq, Quarter Master General of Bangladesh Army Lt. Gen. Anwar Hossain, PM’s Military Secretary Major General Mia Mohammad Joynul Abedin, Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim and high civil and military officials were present.
Earlier on her arrival at the venue, the prime minister was received by Chief of Army Staff General Abu Belal Muhammad Shafiul Huq, GOC of 17 Infantry Division and Area Commander of Sylhet Area Major General Anwarul Momen.
A smartly turned out contingent of Bangladesh Army gave salute to the prime minister through a spectacular parade. After the parade, Sheikh Hasina laid the foundation stones of eight permanent projects including division headquarters in Sylhet Cantonment.
The prime minister said various programmes for reforms and modernisation of the three forces are being implemented in phases under the Forces Goal-2030 formulated under the defence policy framed at the directives of Bangabandhu.
In this connection, Sheikh Hasina said during the second term of her government, new infantry divisions and a number new brigades were established as part of the steps for strengthening defence system, development and expansion of the army.
The premier said the army witnessed an unprecedented development in terms of training, arms and war weapons and manpower during the current tenure of her government.
She said a new dimension has already been added to Bangladesh Army due to induction of modern tanks into the Armoured Corps, artillery canons, air defence missile system, anti-tank missiles of Infantry Force, fighter planes and helicopters of Army Aviation.
Besides, she said, a massive change has been brought in the organisational structure of the army, she said. Sheikh Hasina said a composite brigade has been constituted for construction and security of relevant infrastructures of the Padma Bridge, while the work on establishment of riverine brigade has begun.
“The issue of formation of special force at brigade level is under active consideration by the government for ensuring country’s overall security,” she said. The premier mentioned that many new modern vehicles, helicopters, war weapons and equipment have been procured to boost capability and efficiency of the army.
The government, she said, also approved in principle a proposal for establishing a new infantry division at Lebukhali adjacent to Payra River in between Barisal and Patuakhali districts. “We would build Bangladesh Army as a time-befitting force through speedy and coordinated modernization Insha Allah,” she said.
The prime minister said today is a blissful day for Bangladesh Army as flag of new nine units including one infantry brigade was hoisted to give a full shape to 17 Infantry Division.
“I firmly belief that every member of the newly-constituted brigade and units would help increase its strength being imbued with patriotism and working shoulder to shoulder,” she said.