By Mizan Rahman/Dhaka
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday directed Bangladesh Army to uphold democracy and constitution and contribute more to building a happy and prosperous Bangladesh.
“The army will have to keep up the trend of democracy and constitution and make more important contributions to establishing a modern, developed and prosperous Bangladesh,” she told the 6th Reunion of the Bangladesh Army Engineer Corps at the Engineer Centre and School of Military Engineering (ECSME) at Qadirabad Cantonment in Natore.
Sheikh Hasina also asked the members of Bangladesh Army to keep a “constant vigil” to face any internal and external threats for safeguarding the country’s constitution and sovereignty.
“You will have to also remain alert so that the country’s law and order is maintained...we want to ensure peace and security of the people and terrorism, militancy and drugs don’t destroy the society,” she said.
The PM added: “We want to put Bangladesh on a dignified position of the world and to achieve the goal, all will have to work together.”
The prime minister inspected a spectacular parade of a smartly turned out contingent of the Army Engineering Corps and took the salute.
Lieutenant Colonel Fariduddin was the parade commander.
Ministers, the premier’s advisers, parliament members, the chiefs of three services and high civil and military officials were present on the occasion.
Earlier on her arrival at the ECSME Parade Ground, the prime minister was received by Chief of Army Staff General Abu Belal Mohamed Shafiul Huq and the colonel commandant and the commandant of the ECSME.
Sheikh Hasina said she has a strong family bond with Bangladesh Army as her two brothers — Shaheed Sheikh Kamal and Shaheed Sheikh Jamal — were members of the army.
“My youngest brother Sheikh Russel also wanted to join the army,” she said and mentioned with an emotion charged voice that her three brothers were brutally killed on August 15 in 1975.
The prime minister said her government took various measures for turning the professional armed forces into world-standard modern forces which are inspired with the spirit of the Great War of Liberation.
She said Bangladesh earned independence under the great leadership of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in 1971 through the Liberation War.
She said Bangabandhu had started work to build the war-ravaged Bangladesh taking the entire nation with him and framed a defence policy to build a strong and trained army suitable to an independent country.
“We’ve kept the continuity of the development and expansion of Bangladesh Army by enacting the Armed Forces Goal-2030 in the light of the Defence Policy framed by the Father of the Nation,” she said.
The premier said her previous government during 1996-2000 tenure made massive development and welfare of Bangladesh Army.
“In the last nine years, we’ve increased the capabilities of the force side by side with making infrastructural change,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina said the army was equipped with sophisticated arms and equipment alongside establishing new infantry divisions and brigades.
“We’ve set up armoured, composite and para commando brigades as well as Bangladesh Infantry Regiment,” she said.
To modernise and make the force time-befitting, she said, modern vehicles, helicopters and arms have been inducted into it.
Sheikh Hasina said the Engineer Construction Brigade and the Div Engineer Battalion have already been formed, while a process for formation of the RE Battalion and the Div Engineer Battalion is underway.
Later, the prime minister attended the annual commanders’ conference of the Army Engineer Corps.
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