Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday announced setting up of two more cantonments for Bangladesh Army.
"Initiatives have been taken to build cantonments in Rajbari and Lebukhali of Barisal-Patuakhali. The process of setting up a cantonment has already begun in Lebukhali while a piece of land has been picked in Rajbari for the army's use," she said while addressing a Darbar of the army at Baliakandi in Rajbari.
She said the initiative was taken to turn the military into a modern and skilled force as per the Forces' Goal 2030.
Addressing the Darbar, Hasina recalled the army's role in nation building. She said the army helped in the continuation of the democratic process in the country during the January 5 parliamentary elections last year by discharging its duties neutrally and professionally.
Hasina also said the army received accolades at home and abroad for its work in introducing the national ID card and making a flawless voter list ahead of the 2008 elections.
She said she was sure that the army was fully ready to resist any evil force and safeguard the country's integrity and sovereignty.
Two infantry divisions of the army have already been set up in Sylhet and Ramu of Cox's Bazar and a composite brigade has also been set up on the bank of the Padma for the construction and security of the Padma Bridge, she said.
The prime minister said internet facilities had been provided at all stages in the army as part of the greater goal of Digital Bangladesh.
" … Earning people's confidence is very important," she told the army personnel at the programme, reminding them that people were the strength of the country.
She said Bangladesh was the top contributing country in the UN peace missions and her government has been carrying on its continuous effort to increase the numbers of troops in the UN missions. She said the army's contributions in the peacekeeping missions were globally recognised.
After the Darbar, Hasina had lunch with army officials and soldiers there.
Earlier, Hasina, who also holds the defence portfolio, observed the army's winter exercise titled “Assault River Crossing” on the bank of the Gorai at Sonakanda.
With jet fighters in the sky, and tanks and APCs on the ground, the 55 Infantry Division carried out the assault exercise.
General Officer Commanding of the 55 Infantry Division Maj Gen SM Matiur Rahman organised the 2014-15 exercise where the army for the first time used a drone to locate enemy position. The army plans to develop its drone technology for use in battle fields.
Two fighter jets heavily pounded targets with bombs, 80 para-troops jumped off two planes of Bangladesh Air Force and 265 commandos made the push to capture the beachhead across the river in the mock battle. Two helicopters were also used.
A total of 8,000 army troops, and 250 para-commandos took part in the exercise that began on December 21 last year.
One of the spokespersons of the 55 Infantry Division, Lt Col Md Iftequr Rahman, told reporters that this kind of exercise would help boost professionalism in the army and give the troops almost real-life war experience.
During the exercise, the army gave free medical treatment to more than 20,000 people, performed surgeries on several hundred patients, distributed books and gift items among children at schools, and warm clothes among the less fortunate in the locality. It also built roads and renovated mosques and schools.
The Prime Minister's Security Adviser Maj Gen (retd) Tarique Ahmed Siddique, Chief of Army Staff Gen Iqbal Karim Bhuiyan, Naval Chief Vice Admiral Muhammad Farid Habib, and Air Chief Air Marshal Muhammad Enamul Bari were present during the exercise.