Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina termed Bangladesh Army as a partner of Bangladesh’s tremendous development on Sunday and expressed her firm optimism that the members of the army would move the country forward through patriotism and dutifulness.
“Every member of Bangladesh Army is a partner of Bangladesh’s impressive march towards development. I hope that you would work with that spirit and thinking, and take the country ahead further through patriotism and dutifulness,” she said.
The prime minister said this while addressing a function organized by the Independent President’s Guard Regiment (PGR) marking its 40th Founding Anniversary at its headquarters in Dhaka Cantonment.
Acting PGR Commandant Colonel Md Jahangir Harun presented the welcome address at the function.
Prime Minister’s Security Affairs Adviser Major General (Retd) Tarique Ahmed Siddique, chiefs of the three services, the Principal Staff Officer of the Armed Forces Division as well as high civil and military officials were present.
The PM asked the PGR members to maintain integrity and have a mindset of sacrifice in ensuring personal security of the heads of the state and the government.
“I hope that you would maintain your integrity and state of mind of supreme sacrifice in ensuring personal security of the heads of the state and the government,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina also directed the PGR guards to go ahead keeping solid confidence upon their leadership and perform responsibilities duly to establish Bangladesh Army as a dignified Force before the World.
In this connection, she urged commanders of the PGR to always give necessary attention towards their subordinates, saying effective command channel plays the main role in resolving any problem within a disciplined force like Bangladesh Army.
Stressing the need for imparting training, Sheikh Hasina mentioned that there is no alternative to training in discharging responsibilities of security and said her government has built ‘Digital Bangladesh’ to reach the ICT facilities to the people’s doorsteps.
She urged the PGR members to carry out regular training and professional exercises through highest utilization of the ICT.
Noting that as the head of the government she has close relations with the regiment, the prime minister said the members of the force perform their responsibly with utmost trustworthiness, loyalty, discipline and professionalism.
“It assures and impresses me. You are especially selected and well-trained and your work efficiency and dutifulness prove it,” she said.
Spelling out her government’s steps for the development of the PGR, the Prime Minister said whenever Awami League formed government; it worked for uplift of the regiment.
She said it was the Awami League government which first introduced “Guards Allowance” in 1998 considering the risk of the PGR members. The Prime Minister said her government gave “independent” status to this traditional organization on April 8, 2013.
“On October 7 of the same year, we approved the new organogram of the PGR which has been made effective. As a result, its manpower crossed 2000,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina said the government has raised modern equipment, including necessary vehicles, different types of arms and APC manifold side by side with the manpower.
“I believe that it increased the capability of the regiment, made its responsibility easy and strengthened the mental strength of its members,” she said.
The PM said the work on construction of a barrack for 150 members of the regiment has begun at Ganobhaban. “I hope it would solve your long-standing housing problems to a great extent,” she said.
Paying rich tributes to Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Sheikh Hasina said, “the PGR was founded in July 1975 thanks to the farsightedness and personal initiative of Bangabandhu, the greatest Bangalee of all time”.
With the passing of time, she said, the PGR has now become an independent organization and its reputation is universally recognized as an efficient security providing force.
Illustrating her government’s strides for the development of Bangladesh Army, the Prime Minister said the government has framed the Forces Goal-2030 and development of the army is being made according to the Forces Goal.
She said the government is forming new divisions in Bangladesh Army. “The 17 Infantry Division at Jalalabad Cantonment and 99 Composite Brigade has been formed for construction of the relevant infrastructure for the Padma Bridge and its security,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina said the government has established 10 Infantry Division at Ramu and under it, an artillery brigade, one infantry brigade, one artillery unit and two infantry battalions were constituted. “We also have a plan for setting up another full-fledged cantonment in the country’s southern region,” she said.
As part of the initiatives of procuring modern arms and equipment, Sheikh Hasina said, main battle tank, self-propelled gun system, weapon locating radar, and anti-tank guided weapon have already been inducted in Bangladesh Army, while two FM-90 and Surface to Air Missile Regiment would be added by 2016.
Later, the Prime Minister joined an iftar hosted in her honour by the PGR.
A special munajat was offered on the occasion, seeking continued peace, progress and prosperity of the nation and eternal peace of the departed souls of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and other martyrs of the August 15 carnage and the martyrs of the Liberation War.
Earlier, after reaching the venue, Sheikh Hasina went round different tables set for the guests and exchanged pleasantries with them.
On her arrival at the PGR headquarters, the prime minister was given a guard of honour by a smartly turned out contingent of the PGR. She inspected the guard and took salute.
The PM met with the relatives of the PGR members who embraced martyrdom while on-duty. She also presented them with gifts.
–Our Monitor (Photo: PID)