Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has hoped that the Armed Forces personnel would continue to work as "frontline soldiers" in implementing the Perspective Plan-2041.
"I would like to say to the members of our Armed Forces that, you, being imbued with patriotism, will continue to work as 'frontline soldiers' in implementing the Perspective Plan-2041, and I hope this," she said on Thursday.
The premier said this while addressing the Graduation Ceremony of National Defence Course (NDC) and Armed Forces War Course (AFWC)-2021 at Sheikh Hasina Complex of DSCSC in Mirpur Cantonment in the capital, joining virtually from her official residence Ganabhaban, reports BSS.
"In 2071, the country will celebrate the centenary of our independence (and we have to) move ahead keeping it in mind," she said.
The premier said Bangladesh will never go back (rather) it will move forward to be a hunger-and-poverty-free developed and prosperous 'Sonar Bangla' as dreamt by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Sheikh Hasina said the members of the armed forces are always ready for supreme sacrifice in any crisis alongside protecting the country's sovereignty.
She said they participated in different activities as frontline fighters in facing the Covid-19 pandemic and earned acclamation for their works.
Armed forces personnel have been working sincerely in the infrastructural and socio-economic development of the country along with facing natural disasters aptly, she added.
A total of 88 trainees, including 27 foreign military members, participated in the NDC-2021, while a total of 55 trainees in the AFWC-2021.
So far, 383 members of the Armed Forces from 24 friendly countries have received higher education and training at the NDC.
The prime minister also remotely distributed certificates among the graduates.
Chiefs of the three services and the NDC commandant and its faculties were present at the event.
The prime minister said members of armed forces have brightened the image
of Bangladesh abroad by extending expertise and maintaining dedication in Peace Building and Peace Enforcement, including meeting the challenges of UN Peacekeeping Missions.
She said Bangladesh has once again been able to retain its glorious position as the highest peacekeeper sending country.
In this connection, Sheikh Hasina said her government's endeavour is to provide time befitting training and modern equipment to the members of armed forces so they can run their activities in keeping pace with the developed world.
She said they have added the modern infantry gazette, state-of-the-art weapons, aircraft and helicopters, various modern engineering equipment, sky-destroying automatic SHORAD, VSHORAD, state-of-the-art Oerlikon Air Defence systems, etc to the armed forces.
She continued the Navy has state-of-the-art corvettes, frigates, submarines, and maritime helicopters and formed the SWADS as a specialized force. "In addition, we are building new naval and submarine bases," she said.
She went on to say that state-of-the-art fighter jets, transport aircraft, helicopters, high-powered air Defence radar, and surface-to-air missiles are also included in the Air Force.
The premier said her government has established Aviation and Aerospace University and built the Forward Aviation Base and the Air Defence Notification Center.
"In addition, we have transformed CMHs across the country into state-of-the-art hospitals alongside five medical colleges," she said.
The prime minister mentioned that they have been implementing short, medium, and long-term plans to form a trained and up-to-date military force after winning three consecutive elections since 2008.
She said there has been a far progress in modernising, expanding, and developing the Armed Forces through the implementation of the "Forces Goal, 2030.
Sheikh Hasina added: "We have formulated the 'National Defence Policy, 2018' updating the Defence policy prepared by the Father of the Nation."
She also briefly highlighted the initiatives taken by Bangabandhu for the development of the armed forces such as the establishment of the Bangladesh Military Academy in Comilla Cantonment in 1972, procurement of warships for the Navy from India and Yugoslavia, state-of-the-art supersonic MIG-21 fighter jets, helicopters and transport aircraft, and air Defence radar for the Air Force alongside formulating Defence Policy in 1974.
The prime minister said her government's goal in establishing the National Defence College (NDC) was to build an apex training center for high-level military and civilian officers at home and abroad.
"Today, I can say with satisfaction that NDC has been able to reach its goal," she said.
She also stated that the high-ranking military and civilian officers from home and abroad are showing their highest professionalism and efficiency in their respective fields by taking training from this institution.
She noted, "Along with projecting Bangladesh in the world, it (NDC) is taking relations with the armed forces of friendly countries to new heights."
The head of the government said the graduates have learned about social, political, cultural, economic, and international relations at NDC, including national security challenges and future strategies, which will undoubtedly help them gain leadership in the workplace.
"In these two courses, I hope that the intensive interaction between our military and civilian officers and their counterparts from our friendly countries and their attachment with our nature and the people will remain intact in the future," she opined.
Referring to the United Nations' unanimous approval of the proposal to graduate Bangladesh from a Least Developed to a Developing country, she said at present, the size of the economy of Bangladesh is US$ 411 billion while the poverty rate is below 20.5 percent and per capita income raised to US$ 2,554.
"We could have cut down the poverty rate to 17-18 percent, but the Covid-19 pandemic has slowed it," she said.
About framing Delta Plan-2100, Sheikh Hasina said they have adopted this plan so that generation to generation, not only in cities but also at a grassroots level, would get an improved and smooth livelihood.
The prime minister also attended the 18th joint governing body meeting of NDC and DSCSC.
PM's Security Affairs Adviser, Chief of Army Staff, Chief of Naval Staff, PSO, Commandant of NDC, Senior Secretary of Finance Division, Senior Secretary of Defence Ministry, Senior Secretary of Foreign Affairs Ministry, Senior Secretary of Public Administration, Education Secretary and Vice-Chancellors of Dhaka University, Jahangirnagar University, Bangladesh University of Professionals and National University were present at the meeting.