Bangladesh to give befitting reply if attacked: PM
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today said Bangladesh must have the preparation to give a befitting reply if it is attacked by anyone although it is a peace-loving nation.
"We never want to get engaged in any war with anyone, but if anyone attacks us we want to give them a befitting reply...we must have the preparation all the time...we're doing whatever necessary keeping that in mind," the prime minister said.
She said Bangladesh is a peaceful nation and the aim of country's foreign policy is to maintain friendship with all but the nation never compromised with anybody in case of its self-respect.
The prime minister said this while addressing a function marking the commissioning of two modern submarines --BNS Nabajatra and BNS Joyjatra -- at Chittagong Naval Base.
The two submarines, procured from China, reached Chittagong Port on December 22. Those were handed over to Bangladesh on November 14.
These type 035G diesel electric submarines --76 metres in length and 7.6 metres in width -- are equipped with torpedoes and mines capable of attacking enemy warships and submarines.
"The day is very much special, not only for Bangladesh Navy or Bangladesh Armed forces but also for entire Bangladesh," Sheikh Hasina said.
The government has already taken various short- and long-term plans to build Bangladesh Navy as a three-dimensional force by 2030, said Hasina adding that she firmly believes the two submarines would be able to play an important role in self-defence during the country's critical times.
Father of the Nation Bangabandhu, realising the importance of Bangladesh Navy in just-liberated Bangladesh, gave 'Naval Ensign' to Bangladesh Navy in 1974 and expressed firm determination to build a modern and strong Navy for the country, she recalled adding that submarines were inducted in Bangladesh Navy to strengthen the force following his footprint.
A few nations in the world use submarines and now the name of Bangladesh has been included in that list, which is a matter of great honour and respect for the nation, she added.
The prime minister said more maritime patrol aircraft, and most modern helicopters will be inducted in the Naval Aviation and with the induction of more aircraft the patrolling capability of Navy in the vast maritime areas will be enhanced.
Mentioning that Bangladesh Navy has been turned into a respected force to the world community following the implementation of various farsighted plans, Hasina said the ships of Bangladesh Navy created an unprecedented example in building world peace through their patrol in the international water territories years after years under the banner of the United Nations.
She also said the crew should make contributions towards preparing policies, development of infrastructures and procurement of equipment to turn the 'Submarine Arm' into a self-sufficient branch.
Hasina said the history of Bangalee nation is a history of heroes, and she is sure that the crew, through their patriotism, talent, and diligence, would ensure the optimum use of the two submarines.
Hasina said the first step towards building a three-dimensional Navy was to open the air space of the country for Navy. The present government established Naval Aviation through helicopters and maritime patrol aircraft, she added.
The prime minister later witnessed an exhibition on achieving the capability of a three-dimensional force by the Navy with the participation of BN ship Bangabandhu, two helicopters, two MPAs and an all round naval commando team.
She also inaugurated various base support facilities constructed for the submarines and laid the foundation stone of BNS Sheikh Hasina, a full-fledged base for the submarines.
A documentary on the long work for the acquisition of the two submarines was screened at the function.
A munajat was also offered on the occasion seeking continued peace, progress and prosperity of the nation as well as further development of the armed forces.
Ministers, parliament members, the chiefs of three services, diplomats and high civil and military officials were present on the occasion.
On her arrival, the prime minister was received by Navy chief Admiral Nizamuddin Ahmed and commander of Chittagong Naval area Rear Admiral M Abu Ashraf.