The import of military equipment from countries like China and Serbia is underway to make the army more modernised and efficient on all sides, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina told the commissioning of new cadets at Bangladesh Military Academy in Chittagong yesterday.
The government has signed a $1 billion deal with Russia to purchase ultra-modern military equipment, which will increase the army's capability a great deal, she said, adding that the force had already got modern tanks, armoured personnel carriers, and multi-barrel rocket launchers.
Referring to the Awami League's role in army's modernisation, she said National Defense College, the Military Institute of Science and Technology, Armed Forces Medical College and the Bangladesh Institute of Peace Support Operation Training were set up in its 1996-2001 tenure.
Hasina said that in line with Bangabandhu's 1974 defence policy, the government formulated the "Forces Goal 2030" and, as part of this, established an infantry division in Sylhet and six units with the area headquarters.
The government also approved the establishment of an infantry division in Ramu, Cox's Bazar and building of a new division in the southern region is underway, she said.
Saying that the newly constructed Bangabandhu Complex at BMA is equipped with modern amenities for indoor training, she hoped that the four-year honours course and engineering course to be started at the academy would help produce well-trained army personnel.
A total of 159 cadets, 14 of them female, from 71 BMA Long Course and 17 cadets including four females from 42 BMA Special Course were commissioned in Bangladesh Army yesterday.
The prime minister said, “It should be the first and sole vow of the new officers to protect the country's independence and sovereignty by sacrificing even their last drop of blood.”
She applauded the army's role in global peacekeeping, "establishing peace" in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, and contributions to the country's infrastructure development.
The PM reviewed the smartly passing out parade and took salute as chief guest. She also distributed awards to the outstanding cadets.
Battalion senior under officer Md Khaled Hossain was adjudged the best cadet and awarded the "Sword of Honour". Company junior under officer SM Ziaul Islam received the "Chief of Army Staff's (CAS) Gold Medal" for his outstanding performance in military subjects. Rouf Company received the "BMA Colour" for the Winter Team.
Earlier, Chief of Army Staff Gen Iqbal Karim Bhuiyan and Commandant of the BMA Maj Gen Md Jahangir Kabir Talukder received the PM at BMA Parade Ground.