Staff Correspondent, bdnews24.com
Published: 2020-11-21 19:47:42 BdST
In her speech on Armed Forces Day on Saturday, Hasina extended greetings to her fellow countrymen, including members of the Armed Forces while pointing out that it was not possible to organise a reception in Senakunja this year due to the coronavirus epidemic.
Bangladesh observes Nov 21 as Armed Forces Day signifying the day in 1971, when the three armed forces -- army, navy and air force -- launched a coordinated offensive against the invading Pakistani forces.
The Bangladesh leader noted that this day occupies a special place in the history of the Liberation War, one which the nation always remembers with great respect in light of the heroism and sacrifices made by members of the Armed Forces in the country's struggle for independence.
Highlighting Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's motto of 'friendship to all, malice to none', which continues to guide Bangladesh's foreign policy, the Awami League chief said, "We believe in peaceful coexistence with all neighbouring countries. However, we are always ready and determined to protect the sovereignty of the country from any aggressor."
In keeping with this outlook, the government has formulated the Forces Goal-2030, based on Bangabandhu's defence policy of 1974, which was formulated as the Father of the Nation realised the need for an advanced and professional Armed Forces, according to Hasina.
The Armed Forces are being reorganised, offered advanced training and equipped with specialised military equipment accordingly, the prime minister said, while alluding to the army's growth into a massive organisation from humble beginnings.
Emphasising the various steps taken by Bangabandhu for the development of the Armed Forces, Hasina said the professionalism and efficiency of the military, built on the solid foundation of the National Defence Policy formulated by Bangabandhu, has had a farreaching effect.
She also underscored the devotion and sacrifice with which members of the Armed Forces have continued to carry out their duties throughout the country's history as she lauded their role in combatting the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Hasina expressed condolences to the families of the officers who died from the infection and wished a speedy recovery to those who are currently suffering from the disease.
The prime minister mentioned the various initiatives taken by the Awami League government to enhance every branch of the Armed Forces over the past decade, including the provision of modern weapons and equipment as well as improving the living standards of its members.
During that time, the government facilitated the establishment of two infantry brigades, 10 infantry divisions in Ramu, 17 infantry divisions in Sylhet, a composite brigade for the security and supervision of the Padma Bridge project and a Special Works Organisation, among others.
The Army Information Technology Support Organisation has also been set up to ensure quality services as well as install state-of-the-art equipment in military hospitals as part of the government's 'Digital Bangladesh' initiative.
In order to increase the capacity of the Bangladesh Navy, various projects, including the IFF Preparation Project, mine-torpedo development, gun development have been undertaken.
Hasina also noted that the Awami League government was the first to appoint women members to the Armed Forces.