Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday stressed the need for strengthening Bangladesh Navy further in a bid to protect the country’s vast maritime area.
“It is essential to make our Navy stronger further to protect this sea area,” she said while commissioning the BNS Sangram through videoconference from her official residence Ganobhaban.
Navy chief Admiral Aurangzeb Chowdhury, on behalf of the Prime Minister, formally handed over the ‘commissioning formans’ of the ship to captain Arifur Rahman at the BNS Issa Khan Naval Base in Chattogram.
The Prime Minster asked the Navy to protect the vast sea area Bangladesh conquered through peaceful settlement of disputes with two neighbouring countries as Bangladesh will utilise marine resources for thriving the country’s economy.
“We don’t want to fight with anyone. We want peace. But we want to develop our forces with modern technology knowledge keeping pace with the times so that we can properly face if anyone attacks us,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina said every force of the Armed Forces – Army, Navy and Air Force – will be equipped with modern knowledge.
About the Bangladesh Navy, she said many modern equipment, including ships have already been procured for the naval force.
The Prime Minister said she first handed over Khulna shipyard to the Navy. Two dry docks in Narayanganj and Chattgram were also given to the Navy.
Nothing that the country started building ships, she said Bangladesh is working in joint ventures with friendly countries where it is essential in this sector.
“But we'll have to be learned, prepared and to have technology knowledge as well. So that we can build our ships on our own in future and can export if necessary. This though will have to be kept in mind,” she said.
The BNS Sangram will leave for Lebanon on Friday to take part in the UN peacekeeping mission.
Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh will continue its contribution to the UN peacekeeping missions in the international arena. “We believe in peace…Our small efforts will always continue where it's essential to establish peace and will continue to provide this assistance as a member of the UN,” she added.
Noting that now Bangladesh has a vast sea area, she said the Father of the Nation had taken initiative to dispose maritime disputes with the neighbouring countries. But the successive governments from 1975 to 1996 didn’t take any initiative to solve the problems, she said.
Coming in power in 1996, her government took initiative and had many things done, including collection of information and facts in this regard. Forming government for the second time in 2009, her government intensified efforts to acquire the disputed sea areas and lodge cases with international courts.
The Prime Minister said Bangladesh finally acquired its sea areas keeping friendly relations intact with its two neighbours -- India and Myanmar.