Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today urged the Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) members to nurture the spirit of mutual confidence, respect, discipline and sympathy to strengthen its morale.
"Mutual confidence and respect as well as discipline at all level and sympathy to each others would make strong the fibres of bonds in the force," the premier said while addressing a parade of the border force marking the Border Guard Bangladesh Day-2017 at its Pilkhana headquarters in Dhaka.
The premier asked all BGB personnel to obey the force's rules and discipline and work for country's welfare.
Sheikh Hasina said BGB members' loyalty and sincerity are beyond question and the people have immense confidence in the ability of the force to protect the frontier, maintain law and order and serve to overcome natural or social disasters.
The premier assured her government's complete support to the development of the force saying "BGB is a glorious organization as far as we consider their sacrifice in the Liberation War".
The 222-year old force was raised up in 1795 as 'Ramgarh Local Battalion' and in course of time and geopolitical changes the force was renamed several times and currently operating as BGB with the premier task of border protection.
Sheikh Hasina said responding to the call of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, members of the force waged resistance against Pakistani soldiers in the very first hour of the Liberation War in 1971.
They transmitted the proclamation of the Independence across the country through wireless and on that charge Pakistani army killed the then EPR Subedar Major Showkat Ali and his four associates.
Sheikh Hasina said around 12 thousand Bengali soldier of the EPR took part in the Liberation War and 817 of them embraced martyrdom.
Two Birshrestras of EPR- Lance NayekNur Mohammad Sheikh and Lance NayekMunsiAbdurRouf- are the pride of the nation. Eight BirUttam and 32 BirBikram and 77 Bir Pratik have glorified the history of the BGB through showing their valor in the Liberation War, she said.
The prime minister recalled that Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had taken salute in the parade of the first batch of Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) on January 8, 1973 and took many pragmatic steps to make the force befitting to the age.
Pointing out the BDR mutiny in February 2009 the Prime Minister said the unexpected incident happened within one month and 19 days of formation of the Awami League government when 57 smart military officers serving the border force on deputation laid down their lives.
She paid rich tributes to the 57 slain officers and said the government clamped down the rebellion very quickly and subsequently reconstituted the force under a new law.
The premier praised the BGB’s role in curbing violent activities ahead of and after the 2014 national election while its members showed their utmost responsibility in resisting violence, terrorist activities and protecting public lives and property.
She said BGB brightened its image and dignity in recent period through handling the Rohingya issue, mitigating tension on border with Myanmar, ensuring security of the Buddha villages in Ramu, tackling unstable situation in CHT and providing assistance in rehabilitating the enclave people.
On her arrival at BGB headquarters Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan, Secretary of the Public Security Division Md. Mostafa Kamal and Director General of BGB Major General Abul Hossain received the prime minister.
She was given a state salute while the national anthem was played in the background as an attractive parade was arranged at BirUttam Anwar Hossain Parade Ground at BGB headquarters.
The premier reviewed the parade and took salute while BGB's Deputy Director General Colonel Md. Zulfiker Ali led it as the parade commander.
Sheikh Hasina unveiled a book titled "Border Guard Bangladesh, Smritite, BirotteEkattur" depicting BGB soldiers heroic role in 1971 Liberation War.
Cabinet members, parliament members, chiefs of three Armed services, diplomats and high civil and military officials witnessed the ceremony, which was followed by a "prime minister's darbar" or meeting withthe BGB personnel when she particularly asked them to be extra vigilant in preventing smuggling out of country's wealth.
"We have to make sure that country's wealth would not be used for own luxury or smuggling to other countries . . . It will be used for nation's development. As politician and patriotic it's our responsibility," she said.
Sheikh Hasina said her government has put in efforts to build a developed nation. The countrywould have been a prosperous nation much before if Bangabandhu was alive," she said.
"We have got the country at the cost of huge blood. Why we will not be able to make our country prosperous as we have liberated the country through war," Sheikh Hasina said.
BGB Director General Major General Abul Hossain thanked the Prime Minister for unprecedented development of the force during the tenure of the present government under her leadership.
"During your time the facilities of the BGB members were increased which boosted up their mental strength," he said.
Later, the prime minister replied to the questions of two BGB members.
BGB Director General presented the prime minister a crest and a painting on Prime Minister and her two children.
Before the Darbar the Prime Minister cut a cake of the BGB Day-2017 and she also exchanged pleasantries with number of BGB members from the BGP border posts.
The prime minister handed over BGB Medal (BGBM) to 9 BGB members, President Border Guard Medal (PBGM) to 18 BGB members, BGB Medal-Service (BGBMS) to 9 BGB members and PBGM-Service (PBGMS) to 15 BGB members for their courageous and brilliant contribution to various activities of the BGB.
She also enjoyed a combined display namely 'UthsathekeMohona' performed by BGB members and students of the BGB-run educational institutions.
Mentioning the steps taken by her government for capacity building of the BGB members, for their housing and overall development, Sheikh Hasina said steps were taken for modernization of the force according to the BGB Act, 2010.
Sheikh Hasina said female soldiers were now being recruited in BGB who are playing very praiseworthy role in protecting borders.
She said the government has undertaken a plan to construct a total of 3,167 km ring road across the borders with India and Myanmar. A new region and 25 additional platoons of BGB have been created on Myanmar border due to current tension.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina expressed her firm optimism that members of the BGB would discharge their duties with utmost honesty and patriotism to uphold the goodwill and dignity of the border force and earn public confidence.
Referring to the successful implementation of LBA with India, the Prime Minister said BGB had a very strong role in implementing the agreement and exchange of the enclaves.