Modernisation of army to continue
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday reiterated her resolve to provide everything necessary to continue modernisation of Bangladesh Army.
She hoped that the army officials would discharge their duties in confidence of their leadership, mutual trust, and above all maintaining discipline.
"Epochal development has been unleashed in the infrastructural sector of Bangladesh Army over the last two tenures of our government (1996-2001 and 2009-2014) but still there is a need for further reorganising Bangladesh Army in the current era of ICT. The pace of infrastructural development of army will continue during this 3rd tenure (2014- )," she said.
The prime minister was speaking at the Generals' Conference of Bangladesh Army at the Army Headquarters in Dhaka Cantonment.
Hasina said her government was actively considering setting up another infantry division of army on the banks of the Padma river in the country's southern region.
This was the first such conference between the army leadership and the premier in 2015.
She believes the army will supervise the Padma bridge construction work with utmost sincerity.
The prime minister, also in charge of the defence ministry, said the implementation of the Forces Goal 2030 for Bangladesh Army had advanced much, with addition of modern arms, ammunition and communication equipment that have increased its battle strength manifold.
Listing other steps, she said the procurement deal of 6 MI-171 helicopters, 330 Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) and 10 armoured recovery vehicles under the $ 1 billion military loan protocol with Russia was complete, and the army would get the first instalment at the end of 2016.
Besides, the process is underway to upgrade some 174 T-59 tanks while two FM-90 and surface to air missile regiments will be inducted by 2016.
"This will also help enhance the own battle strength of the Bangladesh Army apart from discharging their duties in the UN peacekeeping missions with more efficiency," she said.
Mentioning that the organogram of the Bangladesh Machine Tools Factory and Bangladesh Ordnance Factories has been reorganised to make the army self-reliant, Hasina said works were underway to set up plants for missile assembly and manufacturing of bullet-proof jackets and APCs, and explosive testing labs.
She said the Bangladesh Ordnance Factories had undertaken a plan to manufacture FN-16 missiles for destroying planes.
"With the manufacturing of the missiles, Bangladesh Armed Forces will gain a new dimension which will bring the force a new identity in global arena.”
Lauding Bangladesh's role in UN peace missions, she said some 9,593 Bangladeshi peacekeepers were deployed in 10 countries.
Hasina said the army had gained people's confidence through various development works like widening of Joydevpur-Mymensingh road into four lanes, 24km Cox's Bazar-Teknaf marine drive road project, and runway development of Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport.
She said establishment of five more dental colleges and five nursing institutes under Bangladesh Army was underway, while Army Dental Corps would soon become an independent corps.
Citing the formation of the Pay and Services Commission 2013 for public servants, she said the Pay Commission for the Armed Forces had also submitted recommendations, and it would be implemented considering the limitations. Army Chief General Iqbal Karim Bhuiyan received the premier at the Army Headquarters.