Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday (February 16) said the armed forces are being built as capable to defend any attack from the external forces to secure country's independence and sovereignty.
"We don't want war with anyone. We believe in the policy, 'Friendship to all malice to none' formulated by the Father of the Nation. But, we're taking measures to make the armed forces capable enough to defend any external force attack," she said.
She was addressing as the chief guest the 10th Tigers’ Reunion of the East Bengal Regiment (EBR) at the EBRC, Chattogram, reports BSS.
The prime minister said her government wants to establish Bangladesh as a peaceful country, for which, it has adopted "zero tolerance” policy against terrorism and militancy.
She extended her wholehearted gratitude to the armed forces personnel as they always stand by the people during any disaster that include flood and drought.
The premier said the armed forces personnel not only stand beside Bangladeshis but also support friendly countries if they experience any disaster.
She said Bangladesh armed forces personnel have been working efficiently in rescue operations in Turkey and Syria as the two countries had recently experienced the worst-ever earthquake.
"I want to thank our armed forces as they are brightening our image by working with glory at the United Nations peacekeeping missions," she said.
About joining the EBR 10th Tigers’ Reunion, she said, the EBR is very close to her heart as her two younger brothers and freedom fighters Captain Sheikh Kamal and Lieutenant Sheikh Jamal, who both were martyred on August 15, 1975 carnage, were members of the regiment.
"So, attending the reunion of the EBR, on the one hand, is painful for me and on the other hand, it is a matter of joy," she added.
At the function, the prime minister took the state salute by a smartly turned out army contingent.
She also reviewed the parade riding on an open jeep accompanied by Chief of Army Staff General S M Shafiuddin Ahmed.
The premier later witnessed a colourful cultural programme.
Sheikh Hasina said her government is building the armed forces as strong and powerful by collecting ultra-modern and time-befitting war weapons and other necessary equipment under the Forces Goal-2030.
"We're procuring sophisticated and up-to-date war weapons for each force---We're working to build the armed forces powerful as envisioned by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman," she said
The prime minister said Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman wanted to build the armed forces as modern and powerful.
She said Bangabandhu had taken various initiatives in this regard alongside rebuilding a war ravaged country empty handed.
Briefly describing her government’s various measures for overall development of the armed forces, she said they have built Sheikh Russell cantonment in Mawa-Jazira while building of new cantonments are in progress in Mithamin, Rajbari and Trishal.
The prime minister said construction of Army Aviation Forward Bases at Chattogram and Cox's Bazar and Aviation School at Lalmonirhat are also in progress.
Besides, her government has added new composite and para-commando brigades to the army, she continued.
Assuming power after 21 years in 1996, she said the Awami League government adopted the development and modernisation plan for the Armed Forces.
The premier said they have recruited the first female soldiers in the military in 2013 to ensure women's empowerment and participation in development activities.
Talking about the present global situation steamed from the Russia-Ukraine war, sanctions and counter sanctions, the prime minister asked the countrymen to bring every inch of fallow land under cultivation as no food crisis can hit Bangladesh.
"Prices of food in various countries have gone up and there are also troubles in getting food," she said, adding Bangladesh has to march ahead overcoming the crisis by using the skill of the countrymen and fertile lands.
She mentioned that Bangladesh's economy is still powerful although the Russia-Ukraine war, sanctions and counter sanctions caused global economic recession and developed countries are even facing severe crises due to it.
"I want every citizen of the country to utilise their lands to produce whatever they can so that the global economic recession can never hit Bangladesh," she said.
The premier said Bangladesh has ensured food security with required production due to her government's various efforts.
Despite ensuring food security, she asked all to continue the efforts of growing more food until the Russia-Ukraine war stops and the world can't get rid of the economic recession.
The prime minister said she returned home in 1981 risking life aimed at materialising Bangabandhu's dream to give the countrymen a decent and beautiful life despite the war criminals and killers of Bangabandhu were roaming the country freely.