PM vows to turn Bangladesh Navy into ‘Builder Navy’

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CHITTAGONG, Dec 24, 2017 (BSS) – Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today expressed her firm determination to turn Bangladesh Navy into a “Builder Navy” from “Buyer Navy” and hoped that Bangladesh would be able to export warships.

“We’ll be able to turn Bangladesh Navy into a ‘Builder Navy’ from ‘Buyer Navy’ gradually and we ourselves can export warships Insha Allah,” she said.

In this connection, she mentioned that two submarine destroyer large patrol craft — Durgam and Nishan — built in Khulna Shipyard were commissioned to the naval fleet last month, while a process for constructing modern frigates in Chittagong Dry Dock is underway.

The premier was addressing the President Parade-2017 marking the passing out of the Midshipman-2015 and the Direct Entry Officers (DEO) 2017/B batches of Bangladesh Naval Academy (BNA) at the academy parade ground here this morning.

The premier asked the newly-commissioned officers of Bangladesh Navy to dedicate themselves to safeguarding the country’s independence and sovereignty being imbued with the spirit of the Liberation War.

“I firmly believe that you would dedicate yourselves to the great responsibility of safeguarding the country’s independence and sovereignty being imbued with the spirit of the Liberation War,” she said.

Sheikh Hasina also directed them to show their loyalty to their seniors and sympathy to the subordinates.

“I hope that you’ll be able to put Bangladesh Navy at more glorious position on the world stage by maintaining the chain of command,” she said.

On her arrival at the BNA parade ground, the prime minister was received by Navy Chief Admiral M Nizam Uddin Ahmed, Commander of Chittagong Naval Area Rear Admiral Abu Ashraf and Naval Academy Commandant Golam Sadek.

Ministers, PM’s advisors, parliament members, chiefs of Bangladesh Army and Bangladesh Air Force, senior military and civil officials, diplomats, local political leaders and guardians of the newly commissioned midshipmen were present.

On the occasion a spectacular parade, participated by midshipmen of passing out batches and different contingents of the navy, was arranged.

The prime minister reviewed the smartly turned out parade and took salute. She also distributed awards among best midshipmen for their outstanding performance in the academy.

Midshipman Sohanur Rahman received the Sword of Honour from the premier for becoming the best allround midshipman.

Direct Entry Officer Acting Sub-Lieutenant AZM Nasimul Islam got Bir Shrestha Shaheed Ruhul Amin Gold Medal, while Midshipman Simanta Nandi Akash received Naval Chief Gold Medal for acquiring highest standard in the professional and educational subjects.

With this winter parade, a total of 104 midshipmen including one from Sri Lanka and one from the Maldives and 12 Direct Entry Officers (DEO) got commission this year.

 

The premier asked the new generation to be imbued with patriotism saying “you’ll have to love the country and its people and discharge your responsibility in such a way so Bangladesh can advance further by keeping its head high”.

Sheikh Hasina said her government was working tirelessly not alone for armed force development, but also for the uplift of every sector.

“Bangladesh is advancing fast in every sector now appearing as a role model for economical development and it has earned ability to solve any problem,” she said.

The prime minister said over one million forcibly displaced Rohingyas took shelter in Bangladesh and discussion was held with the Myanmar government for their repatriation.

“We’ve signed an agreement and formed a joint committee on their repatriation . . . we will send them back to their country as soon as possible,” she said.

Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh earned independence through liberation war. “We’ll not bow bow down to any unjust and step back to face any challenge,” she asserted.

The prime minister said navy’s importance against the backdrop of the country’s geopolitical position was well understood by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman even ahead of Bangladesh’s independence.

“That is why Bangabandhu raised a demand for establishing the naval headquarters in Purbo Banga in his six-point movement in 1966,” she said.

The premier recalled that it was Bangabandhu who had commissioned BNS Issa Khan, navy’s biggest training base in 1974 with the naval ensign as he was vowed to build a modern and strong navy.

Bangabandhu, she said, procured modern warships from the then Yugoslavia and India and simultaneously framed The Territorial Waters and Maritime Zones Act in 1974 to demarcate the country’s maritime boundary.

But the subsequent governments made no effort to ensure the country’s claim over the territorial waters after Bangabandhu’s 1975 assassination.

Sheikh Hasina said the Awami League government after assuming office after long 21 years undertook various steps for modernization of Bangladesh Navy in line with the guidelines of Bangabandhu.

“As a result of the initiatives Bangladesh Navy has now been established as a ‘three dimensional force’ through induction of submarines,” the premier said.

 

The premier Bangladesh navy now has the highest number of warships in its fleet while it was equipped with its own aviation systems having helicopters and patrol aircraft while a process was underway to procure more maritime patrol aircraft and helicopters for increasing navy’s surveillance capacity in the country’s maritime boundary.

Moreover, she said, Bangladesh navy now a specialised unit called “Special Warfare Diving and Salvage” or SWADS while the construction of biggest base with aviation facilities was underway in Patuakhali.

Another naval base to be named after the Father of the Nation also was now being constructed in Dhaka, she said alongside a submarine base with jetty facility in Kutubdia for smooth operation and maintenance of submarines.

The premier said the construction work of the Fleet Headquarters with ship berthing facilities began at Sitakundu-Sandwip Channel in Chittagong and “I hope it would further strengthen overall security of the maritime boundary area”.

Sheikh Hasina said modern warships in local technologies are being built in Khulna Shipyard and Narayanganj Dockyard run under efficient management of Bangladesh Navy.

In this connection, she said two submarine destroyer large patrol craft — Durgam and Nishan — built in Khulna Shipyard were commissioned to the naval fleet last month.

The premier said IONS Multilateral Maritime Search and Rescue Exercise 2017 was held in Cox’s Bazar last month with the participation of the Indian Ocean countries.

“The successful arrangement of the exercise has further brightened the country’s image in the international arena,” she said, adding Bangladesh is now considered as the pioneer of giving leadership for boosting mutual cooperation and development in the Indian Ocean region.

Pointing out Bangladesh’s maritime victory over India and Myanmar, the prime minister said the present government took necessary measures for ensuring proper utilization of marine resources. She said Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Maritime University is being run by the navy to create skilled and trained manpower of development of the ocean economy.

“There is a huge quantum of valuable resources including fish, minerals, petroleum and other mineral substances in our vast maritime area and the importance of these resources is endless . . . so the working area of Bangladesh Navy has increased to a great extent to protect these resources,” Sheikh Hasina said.

Sheikh Hasina said Bangabandhu had dreamt of establishing a modern academy for building a qualified leadership by imparting training to the young generation who’re devoted to serving the country.

To materialise his dream, she said, the government constructed Bangabanadhu Complex with modern facilities in the Naval Academy which is nearing completion.

The prime minister said with the completion of the complex, giving better training to local and foreign trainers will be possible side by side with increasing training facilities.

Sheikh Hasina also expressed her firm optimism to turn Bangladesh into a hunger and poverty-free middle-income country by 2021 and developed one by 2041.

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