Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said armed forces are now very dependable as her government has taken all required measures to equip them with sophisticated weapons and training.
The PM made the comment while addressing a reception at Senakunja of Dhaka cantonment on Wednesday, marking the Armed Forces Day, reports BSS.
The PM said Bangladesh would not wage any war against any country “but our armed forces must be befitting to an independent nation”.
“We will not be engaged in war with any country, but we will not spare any country if we come under attack…we will resist the enemy as long as we have breaths,” she said.
The Premier expressed her commitment to serve the people until her last day with a desire to make the country a suitable abode for the next generation.
“The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep,” she said quoting famous American poet Robert Frost.
The premier added: “I want to go ahead whatever dark it is, whatever worst the disaster is and whatever deep the forest is”.
She also recited from Poet Sukanta Bhattacharya’s Chharpatra in communicating her desire to turn the country a suitable abode for the posterity reciting, “Choley jabo, tobu aaj jatakkhan dehe achey pran, pranponey prithivir sorabo janjal…….. E bishwake e shishur basjoggya kore jabo ami”.
The English lines could be read as: “I will leave, but I will clear the odds with all my efforts so long I’m alive. I will make the earth livable for the children; it’s my firm commitment to a new born”.
Sheikh Hasina said despite many obstacles her government made strides over the years to achieve the cherished goal of independence.
“Our path was not easy. . . It was very thorny. Yet we have gone ahead successfully overcoming all barriers over the years,” she said and expressed her belief that Bangladesh would successfully celebrate the birth centenary of the Father of the Nation in 2020 and golden jubilee of the Independence in 2021.
Sheikh Hasina added: “Inshallah, we would be able to build Bangladesh as a hunger- and poverty-free country”.
Sheikh Hasina said her government took all required measures to equip all armed forces with sophisticated weapons and training in a very short time besides enhancing the national budget by sixty percent that contributed to enhancement of the salaries and allowances of every government employees to enable them lead a decent life.
She said there is no area including housing, transport and medical, where her government did not extend its hands of cooperation.
The prime minister said the government initiatives boosted the private sector creating employment opportunities while the steps also allowed rapid growth of private television channels as means of direct and indirect livelihood of many people.
Sheikh Hasina said about 100 special economic zones were being established across the country to create employment opportunities all over the country and boost up country’s export.
“Bangladesh is now a role model of development in the world,” she said.
She said Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman earned an economic status for Bangladesh as a least developed country (LDC) within three years of independence through massive development campaign which was stalled due to the August 15 carnage and it took a long time to regain the momentum.
“Bangladesh now, however, has been recognised by the UN as a developing country. We have to maintain the graduation. We have to go ahead with the dignity that we have achieved as a developing nation,” the premier said.
She added: “We have reduced the poverty to 21 percent from 40 percent . . . Yet we have to go far. We have to reduce it five percent more to turn the country as a hunger and poverty free nation (and) of course we will be able to do this and we have the confidence”.
Sheikh Hasina said her government succeeded in taking the country’s annual growth to 7.86 percent while per capital income rose to US $1,751.
The prime minister said her government has created scopes for every people so that they can earn to maintain their lives as “our goal is to provide every people a better life”.
Sheikh Hasina said her government got support of every section of people to take the country to this stage and thanked everybody for backing her government.
“The election is coming. If people give us vote, if they want us to serve them, we will come back again. If they don’t give us vote I would not have any repentance . . . so, it’s my last function with you in our current tenure and the almighty knows about the future,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina, however, expressed her firm conviction that the pace of development of Bangladesh would continue as none would be able to suppress indomitable Bangladesh that “Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman uttered in his historic speech on March 7, 1971”.
She congratulated the armed forces members for always standing beside the people with all sincerity and responsibility in their needs particularly during the natural disasters in addition to their role in protecting the country’s independence and sovereignty.
“The people will always remember their services with respect,” she said also acclaiming the armed forces stance to support the forcibly displaced people of Myanmar.
The prime minister said with the aim of strengthening the defence forces, efforts were being made to equip the army, navy and air force with high-tech combat equipment and better training at home and abroad.
She said the Forces Goal-2030 was formulated in the light of the Defence Policy made by the Father of the Nation and under the goals “activities of reconstruction and modernization of the three forces are being implemented gradually”.
At the beginning of her speech the prime minister paid her rich tributes to the greatest Bangalee of all time Bangabandhu, the four national leaders, three million Liberation War martyrs, two lakh mothers and sisters who were killed and lost their honour to liberate the country.
Sheikh Hasina said the Armed Forces Day has a special position in the country’s history as on this day in 1971 Bangladesh Armed Forces comprising army, navy and air force was formed to reinforce attacks on occupation forces to expedite the Liberation War victory.
“Amidst fierce attack of the armed forces we have achieved independent and sovereign Bangladesh. The nation with great reverence always remembers the great sacrifice and valour of the members of the Armed Forces in the war of independence,” the prime minister said.
Pointing out the long history and struggle in the background of the country’s independence the prime minister said we have got the independent state “at the cost of the blood of millions of martyrs and life-long struggle of our great leader Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman”.
Standing on the strong foundation laid-down by Bangabandhu, she said, the reputation of the professionalism and competence of the Bangladesh Armed Forces was transcended across the globe.
PM’s security advisor Major General Tarique Ahmed Siddik (retd) and chiefs of three services stood beside the premier as she addressed the reception.
It was joined by Speaker Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain, former president Dr Badrudowza Chowdhury, opposition alliance leader Dr Kamal Hossain, Leader of the Opposition Begum Rowshan Ershad, Chief Election Commissioner K M Nurul Huda, cabinet members, leaders of different political parties including BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, foreign diplomats, leading figures representing different
professions, editors, senior civil and military officials and their spouses joined the reception.
The premier later exchanged pleasantries with the army officials and their family members, diplomats and other guests.