Rajbari : Reiterating that the Bangladesh Army has helped continue the advancement of democracy by properly discharging their duties during the last general election, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday said they have remained fully prepared to resist any evil force and protect the country’s independence, sovereignty and integrity.
"I'm sure that our Army has remained fully prepared to firmly resist any kind of evil force and protecting the independence, sovereignty and integrity of the country," she said.
The Prime Minister was addressing a Darbar after witnessing the Winter Traning-2014-15 and Assault River Crossing Exercise by the 55 Infantry Division at Sonakanda on the Gorai River bank in Baliakandi upazila of Rajbari district.
Sheikh Hasina said the patriotic Army has helped continue the advancement of democracy in the country through discharging their duties bestowed upon them with utmost neutrality and efficiency in the last general election.
Reminding the members of the Army that the country’s people are the main strength of everything, Hasina said, "That armed forces could gain acclamation and became victorious which could earn trust and confidence of the common people."
She said her government’s aim is to build the Bangladesh Army as the most modern and time-befitting one as it has relentlessly been working to ensure people’s socio-economic development.
Terming today's exercise an excellent one, the Prime Minister said the exercise bears the bright sign of professionalism by the 55 Infantry Division and as a whole by the Bangladesh Army.
Mentioning that her government is pledge-bound and firm to build a modern and smart Armed Forces, she said that her government has formulated the 'Forces Goal 2030' in light with the Defense Policy framed by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in 1974. "This is being implemented gradually."
The Premier said that 17 Infantry Division has already been set up at Sylhet while 10 infantry Division at Ramu while steps have been taken to establish cantonment at Rajbari and another at Lebukhali at Barisal-Patuakhali alongside establishing a composite brigade for ensuring security to the Padma Bridge construction.
Besides, state-of-the art equipment for the Armed Forces like SP gun, ATGW, weapon locating radar, MBRL, ARV and MBT 2000 tanks have been procured.
As part of the government's plan to build Digital Bangladesh, Hasina said that Bangladesh Army is also being digitalised since internet facility has been provided to every level of Army. The Army Information Technology Support Organization was established in 2012.
The same way, she said, her government has been implementing various programmes to modernise the Bangladesh Air Force and Navy.
Hasina said the Army has acclaimed huge appreciations both at home and in abroad through preparing the national ID cards and voter list with photographs.
The Prime Minister said she was happy to know that during the exercise that the army personnel provided warm clothes and free medical treatment with surgery to the common people alongside extending other welfare activities. "I hope you’ll continue such noble initiative and thus gain pure public love and trust."
She went on saying, "We don't want to be a beggar nation, we don't want to seek alms from others rather want to move to the global arena keeping the head high."
General Officer Commanding of 55 Infantry Division Maj Gen SM Matiur Rahman delivered the welcome address on the occasion.
Earlier, on her arrival at the exercise venue, Army Chief General Iqbal Karim Bhuiyan and General Officer Commanding of 55 Infantry Division Maj General SM Matiur Rahman received the Prime Minister.
Some 8,000 troops, 265 para commanders, two fighter jets and two cargo aircraft and four helicopters joined the exercise, a major military operation, with Bangladesh Air Force providing fighter ground attack and close air support. The exercise began on December 21, 2014.
Ministers, PM's Security Adviser, the chiefs of the three services, PM's Principal Secretary, members of parliament and high civil and military officials were present on the occasion.
Later, the Prime Minister distributed blankets among some cold-hit people of the area.