Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday hoped that Bangladesh Navy will be able to be a commercial manufacturer of warships in the future and thus earn foreign currencies alongside creating jobs.
“Bangladesh Navy will be able to be a commercial manufacturer of warships in the days to come. This, in turn, will flourish the home-grown technologies by which we may earn foreign currencies. This will eventually create jobs and establish Bangladesh as a self-reliant nation in the world,” she said.
The Prime Minister said this while addressing the President Parade-2019 marking the passing out of the Midshipman-2017/A Batch and the Direct Entry Officers (DEO) 2019/Bravo Batches of Bangladesh Naval Academy (BNA) at the academy parade ground here in the morning.
With support from the government, Khulna Shipyard Limited has set a milestone in warship-building through manufacturing five patrol and two large patrol crafts under the expert management of Bangladesh Navy, she said adding that the now work on building more five patrol crafts is underway.
The Prime Minister said decision has already been taken to build six more well-equipped large frigates at BN-administered Chattogram Dry Dock Limited. Navy is also making IFF (Identification of Friend and Foe) systems for the three forces, she said.
Talking about blue economy, she said, “Our Sea is a source of vast resources. We’ll have to utilise our marine resources for our economic development.”
The Prime Minister urged the newly-commissioned officers of Bangladesh Navy to discharge their responsibilities with honesty, sincerity and devotion as they are oath-bound to do so.
Sheikh Hasina also asked them to brighten the country’s image performing their duties with proper leadership and sacrifice.
Greeting the newly-commissioned officers, she said, “You’ll be the future leaders of this Navy to safeguard our motherland.”
The Prime Minister said Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman developed Bangladesh Navy soon after the country’s independence as its official journey started with two patrol crafts procured on Bangabandhu’s personal initiative.
The Father of the Nation commissioned all the major bases of the Navy in 1974.
Bangabandhu formulated the ‘Territorial Waters and Maritime Zones Act, 1974’ to establish the country’s rights in the vast sea area, said Sheikh Hasina, the eldest daughter of Bangabandhu.
She said her government, assuming office in 2009, formulated ‘Forces Goal 2030’ in light with Bangabandhu’s “Defence Policy” and started implementation accordingly as the government’s goal is to develop the armed forces as a modern and time-befitting force having the knowledge of technology.
She said her government added a total of 27 warships to Bangladesh Navy, established the Navy’s special commando wing named ‘Special Warfare, Diving and Salvage Command’ and the Navy’s aviation wing named ‘Naval Aviation’.
Inclusion of the long-cherished two submarines in 2017 has truly transformed Bangladesh Navy into a full-fledged three-dimensional force, she added.
To cope up with the challenges of 21st century, she said the government is taking various measures to strengthen Navy into a technology-based efficient force considering the regional and geo-political realities. “So, the Navy is getting strengthened gradually.”
She said a new base named BNS Sheikh Mujib has recently been commissioned at Khilkhet in Dhaka. The construction of two large bases — BNS Sher-e-Bangla and submarine base ‘BNS Sheikh Hasina’– is progressing fast, she said.
With a view to developing training facilities and living standard, 22 multi-storey buildings in different naval areas and a Navy township project in Savar have been inaugurated, she added.
Out of the military sphere, the Navy is also working in a wide-range of sectors like women empowerment, construction of structures for accommodating forcibly-displaced Myanmar nationals, and expansion of blue economy which plays important role in country’s security and economic development, she said.
Sheikh Hasina extended her sincere thanks to the Navy for standing beside people during any natural disaster and other tough time.
Earlier, the Prime Minister inspected the smartly turned-out parade from on an open jeep.
She distributed various prizes among 72 promising young officers, including 61 midshipmen and 11 direct entry officers, who are stepping out of the Academy and entering naval career upon successful completion of their courses.
Among them, seven are women and two midshipmen from the Maldives.
Midshipman Raiyan Rahman was awarded ‘Sword of Honour’ as he has achieved the highest standard at all sectors.
Besides, Midshipman Md Saidis Sacline Miran has got the second highest award ‘Navy Chief Gold Medal’ and acting sub-lieutenant Md Kamruzzaman (from batch of direct entry officers) got the third highest award ‘Bir Shrestha Ruhul Amin Gold Medal’ for their outstanding performances.
Ministers, parliament members, the chiefs of the three services, senior military and civil officials and guardians of the newly-commissioned midshipmen were, among others, present on the occasion.