Prime Minister Hasina expects greater involvement of army in development efforts

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina wants the army to get widely involved in development efforts.

Published : 28 May 2015, 05:35 PM
Updated : 28 May 2015, 05:57 PM

She also praised the army for its role in such recent projects.
She was addressing the ‘Generals’ Conference’ of the Bangladesh Army at the Dhaka Cantonment on Thursday.
Hasina, who also holds the defence portfolio, praised the army for their performance in various development efforts.
These include the widening of the Joydevpur-Mymensingh highway to four lanes, construction of 24-kilometre Cox’s Bazaar-Teknaf marine drive, development of the runway of the Shahjalal International Airport and beautification of Martyred Intellectuals' Memorial at Rayerbazar.
“The army has earned people’s confidence with these development activities. I hope the nation will see your bigger involvement in such activities of national development,” she said.

The prime minister said the army had been entrusted with the responsibility of supervising the construction of the Padma Bridge and other important projects, thanks to its professional excellence.
“I firmly believe the army will fulfil the duties of national and public interest with great care,” she said.
Army chief General Iqbal Karim Bhuiyan and top army officers attended the meet.

At the Generals’ Conference, the head of the government assured the army of implementing the proposals of new salary structure proposed by the armed forces “as far as possible”.

Hasina highlighted ‘unparallel’ development of army infrastructure in the last two tenures of the Awami League-led government.

“We will continue the infrastructural development of the army in the third term. We are considering establishment of another Infantry Division at the bank of Padma in the southern Bangladesh.”

In her address, she also shared the government initiatives for a drastic change in the army to make it able to keep up with the world in the age of information technology.

“In the previous terms, I tried my best to modernise the army so that it could discharge its duties in the international arena with honour.”

In the process of development, the army’s organisational structure had changed a lot.

A great number of latest war technologies would be procured to make the armed force more capable and modern, she added.

The prime minister said the first consignment of weapons under the $1 billion defence credit protocol with Russia would be added to the armed forces by the end of 2016.

On Jan 15, 2013 Dhaka and Moscow signed the agreement during Hasina’s maiden visit to Russia.

Under the deal, Bangladesh would procure six MI-171 helicopters, 330 armoured personnel carriers (APC) and 10 armoured recovery vehicles from Russia.

Hasina said upgrading of the 174 T-59 tanks was also underway.

She said the organisational structure of the Bangladesh Machine Tools Factory and Bangladesh Ordnance Factory would be restructured to make the army self-reliant.

“The Bangladesh Ordnance Factory is producing arms and ammunition using its own innovative ideas, besides foreign technology.”

The test production of 60- and 82-milimetre (mm) mortars, and mortar shells was successful, Hasina said.

The establishment of a missile assembling plant, explosives testing lab, bullet-proof jacket production plant and APC manufacturing plant was underway. 

“The ordnance factory has plans to manufacture anti-aircraft missile FN-16. This will be executed soon.”

She spoke of the initiatives the government had taken to develop housing for defence personnel.

The prime minister suggested senior army officers remain diligent in discharging the duties.

Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher