"There was a time when Bangladesh had a negative image. There are still some people who prefer to badmouth Bangladesh. But our socio-economic development, participation in the international peacekeeping and our success in curbing violence and terrorism in the country, have brightened our image," said the prime minister, as she joined the graduation ceremony of the 2021-2022 batch of Defence Services Command and Staff College via video conference from Ganabhaban on Wednesday.
Bangladesh has successfully regained the honour it achieved in 1971, following the victory in the Liberation War, and later lost it on Aug 15, 1975, said Sheikh Hasina.
"No one can ignore Bangladesh anymore."
The prime minister highlighted the government’s goal of reaching developed country status by 2041 and also mentioned her dream of Bangladesh celebrating 100 years of independence in 2071.
"You have to work as a soldier to create a developed Bangladesh. You should hold your heads high, love the country and its people," she told the young officers.
Recalling her two brothers, Captain Sheikh Kamal and Lieutenant Sheikh Jamal, who were army personnel, Hasina said she considered herself as a member of the defence family.
She also recalled her youngest brother Sheikh Russel aspired to become an army officer when he grew up.
"His dream never turned into reality."
A group of army personnel assassinated Bangabandhu and almost every other member of his family on Aug 15, 1975. Sheikh Hasina and Sheikh Rehana, his daughters, survived as they were travelling abroad at the time.
The prime minister highlighted her government's initiatives to develop and modernise the Armed Forces.
The DSCSC has conducted 128 courses for the Army, Navy and Air Force and conferred degrees to 5,686 officers. As many as 1,255 officers from 43 countries have received degrees and played important roles in their respective countries, said Hasina.
“I am happy that 251 officers, including 47 officers from 18 foreign countries and three officials from the Bangladesh Police, have received PSC degree this time."
The prime minister said she gave a directive to reserve five seats for women officers in Army, Navy and Air Force in the current DSCSC course.
“Women have become more empowered in the Armed Forces. Even spouses of the participating officers are taking part in different constructive and social programmes. I believe they are also contributing to training," said Sheikh Hasina.