Army seeks to form crisis unit
Bangladesh Army seeks to form a special unit named, Quick Reaction Force (QRF), to ensure the country's internal security, particularly to tackle on an urgent basis -- incidents like mutinies and bombings.
Terming such an unit 'indispensable' for the country 'under the current circumstances', the army in a report claimed that QRF troops will be able to neutralise the threats to the nation much quicker, sources said quoting from the proposals stipulated in the report.
Placed for discussion before the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Defence Ministry on last Thursday, the report also suggested that the government approves formation of a QRF brigade.
In the report the army termed the absence of QRF as one of its weaknesses in relation to rendering assistance to the government for maintaining internal security.
If QRF is formed, it can also be sent to UN peacekeeping missions on short notice, which will elevate Bangladesh Army's image in the international arena, the report claimed.
The report also suggested forming a national crisis [management] committee in light of the 'current reality' to deal with all possible future crises.
The national probe committee investigating the recent BDR mutiny, in its report submitted to the government last month, also suggested formation of a national crisis management committee at the top level. The February 25-26 BDR mutiny this year, left 74 people dead, including 57 army officers who had been working in the border security force on deputation.
The proposals for the formation of the national crisis management committee came after the National Security Council, the highest consulting body on security affairs, had become defunct, observed security experts.
"The absence of a national crisis management committee comprising all ministries and forces, might result in a lack of coordination and waste of time. That could create a national crisis, or the public might lose confidence in the security forces," said the army's report.
The report also focused on threats to the country's security, and on possible grounds for Bangladesh to get involved in unwanted internal and external wars.
Internal reasons identified in the report, for which Bangladesh Army might get involved in conflicts are: if the Chittagong Hill Tract separatist movement is revived; if any non-state force or terrorists adopt the policy of an uneven warfare, or if any terrorist base inside the country threatens global peace and stability; and if law and order deteriorates and the government's authority is challenged by anti-people activities of drug and arms dealers.
"According to Bangladesh's foreign policy, we will not initiate a war. But, Bangladesh might inadvertently get engaged in a conflict due to various reasons. A recent analysis stated that since 1990 militaries of the world got involved in 30 to 40 small and large conflicts a year. Most of those conflicts did not involve a foreign country, but were caused by internal disturbances or clashes," the report said.
The army in the report expressed faith that it will be possible to implement all necessary measures required to keep the army always prepared, if the proposals are placed before the parliament and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina through the parliamentary standing committee.
The prime minister is currently holding the portfolio of the defence ministry, along with the control of the Armed Forces Division.
Since formation of the current government, the prime minister pledged to transform Bangladesh Army into a modern force, the report said hoping that the army will continuously be strengthened by implementation of the prime minister's pledges and by the parliamentary committee's prudent guidance.
The report said the army's vision, objective, and mission is to protect and defend the integrity and sovereignty of the country from internal and external threats, by building a modern and skilled force.
The parliamentary standing committee at a meeting on May 28 opened a discussion on the army's proposals, problems, and possible solutions to those.
In its report the army also focused on the needs for formulating a national defence policy to specify terms and references, organisational importance, and guidelines for all armed forces.
The parliamentary body echoed the view, and asked the defence ministry and the Armed Forces Division to place the draft defence policy, which is already prepared, at the committee's next meeting for discussion.
Ruling Awami League (AL) in its electoral manifesto, pledged to formulate a national defence policy, and to build modern and skilled defence forces to safeguard the country's independence and sovereignty against any threat.