Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday expressed the hope that Bangladesh Navy will turn into a builder force from a buyer one gradually as the government has taken various steps to this end.
“We’ll be able to make Buyer Navy as Builder Navy gradually, Inshallah. We’ll be able to build warships and export these as well, she said while addressing the winter parade of Midshipmen-2015 and Direct Entry Officers 2017/B Batch on the occasion of the President Parade December-2017 at Bangladesh Naval Academy here.
Mentioning various steps taken by her government to modernise the Bangladesh Navy, the Prime Minister said works are going on to construct the largest naval base with aviation facilities in Patuakhali, while Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib naval base in Dhaka for infrastructural development.
Besides, works are going on rapidly to set up a submarine base in Kutubdia for ensuring the proper management and maintenance of submarines and providing jetty facilities, she said.
Hasina said the work started to construct fleet headquarters in Sitakunda-Sandwip Channel in Chittagong with ship-berthing facilities. “So, I believe that the overall security of the country’s sea areas will be strengthened further.”
She said modern warships are being made with local technology in Khulna Shipyard and Narayanganj Dockyard run under the competent management of the Bangladesh Navy.
Two large anti-submarine warfare patrol crafts –‘Durgam’ and ‘Nishan’– were commissioned in the naval fleet last month. Apart from this, a modern frigate is being constructed in Chittagong Drydock Limited, she added.
The Prime Minister said her government was able to establish Bangladesh’s sovereign rights in a vast sea area through peaceful settlement of maritime boundary disputes with Myanmar and India in the international court maintaining the friendly relations with the two countries.
“After establishing the rights in the vast sea area, our responsibility had largely increased to protect the marine resources so that we can use that for our socio-economic development. We’ve already taken various steps in this regard,” she said adding that it is the duty of Bangladesh Navy to oversee the vast sea area.
Hasina said Bangladesh is now being considered as the pioneer in the outside world when it comes to mutual cooperation and development in the of Indian Ocean region.
Pointing at the midshipmen of the Navy, the Prime Minister hoped that they will engage themselves in the noble duty of protecting the country’s independence and sovereignty being imbued with the spirit of the Liberation War.
“Being members of a disciplined force, you will always show loyalty to your higher officers and sympathy to subordinates. You will be able to take Bangladesh Navy to a more glorious place in the global arena by maintaining the chain of command.”
“I’m glad to know that there are 21 females among those who got commissioned today, which is a big example of women empowerment in our country,” Hasina said.
She paid deep homage to Bir Shrestha Shaheed Ruhul Amin and other members of the Navy, who sacrificed their lives in the Liberation War.
Hasina said Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman could realise the importance of Naval force considering the geopolitical location of Bangladesh and demanded establishment of the headquarters of Naval forces in the then East Bengal in the 1966 historic Six-Point Programme, but the Pakistani rulers had not accepted it.
“Today, we are building our Navy as a modern and strong force,” she said.
Bangabandhu commissioned BNS Issa Khan, the largest naval training base, in 1974 to build a modern and strong naval force. He procured modern warships from Yugoslavia and India for forming a competent naval force alongside developing the war-ravaged country.
She also said the Father of Nation enacted ‘The Territorial Waters and Maritime Zones Act in 1974 for demarcating the country’s maritime boundary. ”Unfortunately, those who came to power after killing of the Father of Nation in 1975 did not take any initiative to implement the law. Forming the government after 21 years, Awami League took initiatives in this regard,” she added.
Housing and Public Works Minister Engineer Mosharraf Hossain, Mayor of Chittagong City Corporation AJM Nasir, parliament members, Diplomats, and High Civil and Military officials were present.
A total of 92 midshipmen, including one each from Sri Lanka and the Maldives and 12 direct entry officers formally passed out, wete commissioned in Bangladesh Navy through a colorful ceremony at Navy Parade Ground today.
The Prime Minister also handed over Bir Shrestha Ruhul Amin Medal to A Z M Nasimul Islam for becoming the best all-round direct entry officer, while Navy Chief Gold Medal to Shimanto Nandi Akash for the second best all-round midshipman and Sword of Honour to Sohanur Rahman for becoming the best all-round midshipman.
Later, the newly commissioned officers took formal oath in presence of the Prime Minister.
Earlier, on her arrival, the Prime Minister was received by the Chief of Navy Admiral Nizamuddin Ahmed and commander of the Chittagong Naval Region Rear Admiral M Abu Ashraf.
The Prime Minister was given guard of honour at that time, while she inspected the parade of the fresh officers comrmissioned to the Navy riding an open Jeep.