Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today laid emphasis on considering the competent officers for promotions in Bangladesh Navy and Air Force to safeguard the country’s independence and sovereignty in future.
“In future, those skilled in defending our independence and sovereignty should be promoted and given the responsibility of commanding the force and taking the country forward,” she said, addressing the first session of Navy and Air Force Selection Board-2021 at the Navy and the Air Force Headquarters.
Joining virtually from her official residence Ganabhaban, the premier said that Bangladesh is proud of its armed forces, adding, “The country will continue moving ahead with the ideology of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the spirit of the War of Liberation to become a developed and prosperous ‘Golden Bangladesh’ in the future”.
Sheikh Hasina said that she was happy to know that the promotions to Navy and Air officers are being given following the TRACE (Tabulated Record and Comparative Evaluation) method.
She continued, “I think it’s a modern method. On the basis of this method, with your (Navy and Air authorities) knowledge and wisdom, the Selection Board will select those who will efficiently manage the Navy and Air Force in the coming days.”
“Simultaneously, I would also like to say that in many cases, it is seen that many people can show a lot of skills in performing duties. So, you (Navy and Air authorities) will also consider that they should not be overlooked.”
The Prime Minister thanked all the organizations, including Bangladesh Navy and Air Force, for standing by the people with utmost sincerity during the Covid-19 pandemic, saying it is the responsibility of every human being to stand beside the people in the times of disaster.
She said armed forces always do this whenever there is a disaster and the mass people have received their services.
Sheikh Hasina said today Bangladesh Navy and Air Force have earned the esteem of highly disciplined, efficient and professional forces not only at home but also in the international arena. “Your self-sacrifice and conscientiousness have brought the rare honor and dignity to Bangladesh, which has also brightened the image of the country abroad,” she added.
Addressing the members of the Navy and Air Force, she said, “I am the daughter of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. I am not just a ruler, but I am also a servant of the people of Bangladesh. I think serving the people and doing their welfare is my biggest job. I am working with this motto and I always seek your (Navy and Air) cooperation in making the country prosperous.”
In running the state, the armed forces would be beside the people whenever needed and would continue to serve the people like what they have been doing so far, she hoped.
The Prime Minister said her aim was always to make sure the armed forces of Bangladesh can run in parallel with the modern world and the forces of other countries while discharging duties in the UN peacekeeping missions.
She said ranks of the armed forces have also been changed so they can keep pace with the defense forces of other countries equipped with modern technology while working with them.
Mentioning that her government has formulated the “Forces Goal-2030” in light of the Defense Policy framed by the Father of the Nation in 1974 and also has started to implement it, the premier reminded everyone that “our foreign policy formulated by Bangabandhu is – friendship to all, malice to none”.
She said, “One thing I want to make clear is that we don’t want to fight with anyone,” adding, in light of the foreign policy of the Father of the Nation, “we are moving forward maintaining friendship with each country with utmost efficiency. In the overall development of the country, we are working in good faith with all those from whom we need to take cooperation or who will be our development partners”.
Noting that without peace, the development of any country is not possible, she said, “War brings destruction. We don’t want to go for war. But, if anyone attacks, we must have all the preparations to protect the country from the attack of that external enemy. That is why we have to be equipped with modern technology, knowledge through training and modernization of equipment.”
Mentioning that Bangabandhu formulated Territorial Waters and Maritime Zones Act in 1974, many years before the United Nations did, she said her government has been able to achieve huge maritime boundaries keeping friendly relations with Myanmar and India.
The premier also briefly highlighted the modernization initiative taken by her government for Navy and Air Force such as modern warships, submarine, helicopter, maritime patrol aircraft, specialized force and modern technology in Navy while introduced modern aircraft, F-7BGI, MIG-29, Yak 130, C-130 transport aircraft, MI 171 SH helicopters, modern maritime search and rescue helicopters, air defense radar, surface-to-air missile and modern training aircraft to the Air Force.
She said the present Awami League government has continued to implement the far-reaching dream of the father of the nation in building a well-organized modern Navy and Air Force.
She continued that her government procured modern frigates for Navy and MiG-29 for Air force, but the then BNP government had filed cases against her and also decommissioned the frigate.
Highlighting the difficult times of the global economies due to the coronavirus, the Prime Minister said her government has offered various incentives to keep the country’s economy afloat and move ahead with the mega projects like the Padma Bridge.
Sheikh Hasina said she was once given the perception that without the approval or money of the World Bank, it would not be possible to carry out any development work in the country.
But, when the World Bank raised a false allegation about the Padma Bridge, she said, she challenged it and took the initiative to build the bridge with own financing.
Sheikh Hasina said, “I can say that this single decision has upgraded the status of Bangladesh in all respect,” adding, “Because, we have shown that we may have limited resources but we have proved our will power, love and sincerity for the country and the people, and the work we can do through it.”
She reiterated her gratitude to the people of the country for all these and said, “We have been able to carry out these developments because the people have voted for us and we have been in power for a long time.”
At the outset of the Selection Board, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral M Shaheen Iqbal and Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Shaikh Abdul Hannan delivered welcome addresses.