Army integral part of people, ready to resist evil force: PM

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today urged the Armed Forces to make constant efforts in winning confidence of the people by extending services to them.
“An army without public support and confidence cannot win a war. People are the main strength for politicians and members of the armed forces as well,” she said.
The Prime Minister was addressing a Darbar of 55 Infantry Division marking the closing ceremony of Winter Exercise-2014-2015 and Assault River Crossing Operation on the bank of the Gorai River at Sonkandi here.
Sheikh Hasina expressed her firm determination to build Bangladesh Army as a modern and smart force to protect the country’s sovereignty and integrity.PM’s security advisor Major General Tarique Ahmed Siddiqui (retd) and Army Chief General Iqbal Karim Bhuiyan were present while General Officer Commanding (GOC), 55 Infantry Division Major General SM Matiur Rahman gave welcome address.
Cabinet members, PM’s advisors, parliament members, chiefs of three services, diplomats of different countries and senior military and civil officials were present.
The Prime Minister said her government is pledge-bound to build a modern and smart armed forces and in view of this “Forces Goal”, prepared in light of the defence policy formulated by the Bangabandhu, is being implemented in phases.
She said the exercise reflected the professionalism of Bangladesh Army. “I’m sure our army is fully ready to resist any evil force and protect the integrity of the country.”
Sheikh Hasina said Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujubur Rahman firmly believed that the country needs a well-trained and strong armed forces to protect its independence and sovereignty.
For this, Bangabandhu had taken initiatives for modernisation of the armed forces after independence despite having many constraints. The Prime Minister said Bangabandhu established Bangladesh Military Academy to create competent leaders for the army.
Sheikh Hasina said her government during its office from 1996 to 2001 had implemented massive programmes for increasing the competence of the armed forces.
At that time she said a composite brigade, an infantry brigade, artillery regiments including the Special Works Organisation, riverine engineering battalion, infantry support battalion, field ambulance and Ordinance Company were formed.
Besides, National Defense College, Bangladesh Institute of Peace Support Operation Training, Armed Forces Medical College and Military Institute of Science and Technology were established, she said.
Sheikh Hasina said 17th Infantry Division in Sylhet and 10th Infantry Division in Ramu were established and projects were taken for establishing cantonments in Rajbari and Lebukhali of Barisal-Patuakhali. A composite Brigade has been established for construction and security of the Padma Bridge.
At the same time, she said various programmes are being implemented for modernisation of the air force and navy.
Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh Army is discharging duties in the interest of the nation side by side performing its professional duties. In the last general election, the patriotic armed forces helped sustaining the country’s democracy through discharging their duties impartially and efficiently.
She said the army also earned appreciation from home and abroad by preparing a voter list with photograph and national ID card. Bangladesh Army always stood beside the people in any natural disaster.
After super cyclone Sidr in 2007 and Aila in 2009, Bangladesh Army particularly 55th infantry Division has played an important role to tackle the disastrous situation. In addition, the Division has an important role in implementing Ashrayan Project for homeless people in the south western part of the country, she said.
Sheikh Hasina said people are the main strength of the country. Bangladesh army is an integral part of the people. So it’s the responsibility of all to work for changing the lot of the people. Earning public confidence is very important, she said.
Sheikh Hasina said the country went ahead whenever Awami League came to power. Now Bangladesh is no more a dependent nation, it rather earned recognition as a role model of development.
Sheikh Hasina also highlighted the achievements of the country earned during the tenure of Awami League government in the fields of socio-economic areas.
She praised the initiative of the 55th Infantry Division for distribution of winter clothes, providing free treatment and its other public welfare activities during the winter exercise hoping such initiatives would continue in future to get people’s love and affection.
Later, the Prime Minister distributed winter clothes among the poor. – BSS