PM seeks expanded armed forces, others’ services to combat militancy

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DHAKA : Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today sought more cooperation from all including armed forces in combating militancy and terrorism to keep undisrupted the country’s ongoing development process.

“We want to build Bangladesh as a developed, prosperous and peaceful country in South Asia in the spirit of the War of Liberation. So, we don’t want any incidents to happen that will impede the country’s ongoing development,” she said.

The premier was addressing as the chief guest the graduation ceremony of the Defence Services Command and Staff College (DSCSC) 2016-17 Course at Sheikh Hasina Complex at DSCSC at Mirpur Cantonment in the capital this morning.

Sheikh Hasina said militancy and terrorism of late appeared as a new global phenomenon exposing the entire world including Bangladesh to a crisis.

As part of a massive and stern anti-militancy campaign, she said, her government is motivating the people to fight such social menaces.

“The law enforcement agencies have been mobilized (to spearhead an anti-militancy clampdown) alongside creating social awareness against terrorism and militancy, while the armed forces have earned capability to this end,” she said.

The prime minister also urged all sections of the society to play their due role so that children don’t get involved in terrorism and militancy and addicted to drugs.

“I would like to call upon all to build a resistance against terrorism and militancy from their respective positions side by side with creating awareness about the social vices,” she said.

DSCSC Commandant Major General Md Saiful Abedin delivered the welcome address at the function.

Ministers, advisers to the prime minister, parliament members, chiefs of three armed services, vice-chancellors of different universities, diplomats and high civil and military officials were present at the function.

Citing the importance of Bangladesh’s geographical location, the premier called upon all including the armed forces to work together to safeguard country’s independence and sovereignty.

“All will have to keep in mind that the country’s geographical position is very important and we ourselves have to protect the country’s independence and sovereignty . . . all will have to work unitedly for this,” she said.

Sheikh Hasina also said all will have to devote themselves to materialising the dream of the 1971 martyrs and Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman by establishing a hunger and poverty-free Sonar Bangla.

“We want Bangladesh be built as Sonar Bangla as dreamt by Bangabandhu . . . so souls of the martyrs remain in peace,” she said.

Expressing her firm optimism to build Bangladesh as a middle income country by 2021 and developed and prosperous one by 2041, the premier said none would be able to push Bangladesh backward.

“The advancement that has started would continue and we would move on the world stage with dignity,” she said.

The premier also urged all including the armed forces to move and perform their responsibility with self-confidence since “we are victorious nation as we earned victory through the Liberation War and we would move keeping our head high not bowing down”.

“All will have to perform their respective duties with self confidence and this is especially applicable to fresh officers,” she added.

Terming the Armed Forces as a symbol of the country’s independence and sovereignty, Sheikh Hasina said they are playing an important role in socioeconomic development and tackling natural disasters and combating terrorism and militancy.

“Alongside the noble responsibility for protecting our sovereignty, the members of our patriotic Armed Forces are also making significant contributions to the fields of tackling natural disasters, construction of infrastructures, socioeconomic development, maintaining law and order in aid of civil administration,” she said.

Not only inside the country, she said, the members of our Armed Forces have also earned name and fame abroad by their honesty, dedication and professional efficacy.

The prime minister said the members of Bangladesh Armed Forces are contributing significantly to peacekeeping, democracy, social development, healthcare and education in various countries under the emblem of UN mission.

“Their success has brightened the image of Bangladesh,” she said.

Sheikh Hasina said Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had truly realized that the Armed Forces as a national asset and essential element of national dignity and sovereignty that led him to put special emphasis on building regimented and professional Armed Forces for Bangladesh.

She said Bangabandhu had raised a demand for establishing the Naval Headquarters at East Bengal in his 1966’s Six-Point Charter.

After going through international legal procedure, she said, Bangladesh became victorious in obtaining its rights at vast maritime boundaries. “Potential Blue Economic door was unleashed in front of us by this endeavor and we made the navy as a three-dimensional force for utilizing this opportunity,” she said.

The premier said it is a matter of great regret that after 46 years of independence Bangladesh Navy didn’t have a submarine but “recently we have added sophisticated submarines, which have amplified our capabilities hugely.”

In line with the Forces Goal 2030, she said, the government is planning to build the Army and Air Force prudent and professional by providing them with ultramodern technologies and automatic machineries.

“To accomplish these goals we have added F-7 BG fighter planes, helicopters and missiles for sky defense,” she said. Sheikh Hasina said according to the Force’s Goal 2030,

Air Force now added new units and more manpower. Bangabandhu Aeronautical center has been approved while Bangabandhu and Cox’s Bazar Air Force camps have been declared as fulltime base, she said.

As part of modernizing the Army, new tanks, APCs, self-propelled artillery guns, radar, and tank destroying missiles were inducted into the force.

“Now we can keep our confidence in Bangladesh Army due to its overall capability including its professionalism in maintenance work,” the premier said.

The prime minister said her government took all necessary steps to expand the structural facilities of Army Command and Staff College and in this process, a multi-storied building and many other newly build structures were developed in the staff college which will expedite the training procedure.

The premier said it is also a matter of pride that from the inception, this College has successfully completed 41 Staff Courses for the Army, 35 Courses for the Navy and 37 Courses for the Air Force.

“A total of 998 officers from the Armed Forces of our 40 friendly foreign countries around the globe have also obtained degree from this College,” she said.

The prime minister said all these graduates were contributing to the defense structure of their own countries in different capacities and “for such splendid success, I congratulate the Commandants, faculty members and all staffs of this College since its inception”.

Congratulating the graduating officers for successfully completing the courses, Sheikh Hasina said this day is undoubtedly a memorable one for their life.

“You have successfully completed this course by dint of your hard work and perseverance. I am sanguine that the knowledge acquired through this course, will make you more confident in discharging assigned duties and in facing any challenge, more efficient. . . from this moment you are ready to undertake higher leadership role,” she said.

The prime minister said that she was very happy to learn that total 14 female officers have been graduated this year.

“It is encouraging to see the increased number of female officers graduating every year, which clearly indicates ‘Women Empowerment’ in the Armed Forces and in Bangladesh as well,” she said.

Earlier, the prime minister handed over certificates among the graduating officers of the DSCSC 2016-17 Course. This year, a total of 280 officers including 158 officers from Bangladesh Army, 27 officers from Bangladesh Navy, 24 officers from Bangladesh Air Force and 71 overseas officers have successfully been graduated from this college.

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