A new corvette “BNS Sangram” has been added to the Bangladesh Navy fleet to increase the capacity of the naval force in protecting the maritime borders
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has reiterated her call to the people to follow health instructions properly to fight the coronavirus in an effective manner.
"Protect yourselves and your families from Covid-19 by maintaining the health directives properly," she asked the people while addressing the commissioning ceremony of the Bangladesh Navy's new ship "BNS Sangram" through videoconferencing from her official residence Ganobhaban on Thursday morning.
The entire world, the global economy and communication systems ─ everything has come to a standstill due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the premier said, adding that panic has been created in every sphere (of life) including maintaining social communications.
She went on to say that no one, irrespective of rich and poor countries, could do anything against the invisible evil force, and that everyone has reached a similar position in the fight against it.
Noting that Bangladesh also suffered immensely due to coronavirus at a time when the country brought its poverty level down to 20 percent from 40 percent and increased GDP growth to 8.1 percent, the premier hoped that the country as well as the world would overcome the pandemic soon.
Strengthening the Navy to protect the vast sea area
The premier simultaneously said that her government has attached priority to protecting the country's vast sea area and utilising its huge resources for the development of the economy.
Mentioning that Bangladesh prefers peace to war, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said the Bangladesh Navy needs to be further strengthened with modern technology-based knowledge and equipment to protect its sea area and its resources.
"It is true that we want peace, but at the same time we have to remain well prepared to face any attack," she said, adding, "So, we want to build modern technology-based organisations to keep pace with the modern age. We have been working tirelessly to build our army, navy and air forces with modern technologies."
She also said her government has formulated a perspective plan called "Forces Goal 2030" in light with the "Defense Policy" adopted by the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in 1974, and has started to implement it to make the armed forces time-worthy.
"We have already purchased a lot of modern equipment including frigates and ships for the Bangladesh Navy.
I first handed over the Khulna Shipyard to the navy. I also handed over two dry docks of Narayanganj and Chattogram to the navy," she added.
Sheikh Hasina said the Bangladesh Navy has been transformed into a full-fledged three-dimensional force with the inclusion of two submarines.
She hoped that the navy personnel would discharge their duties properly to safeguard the country's sea areas with utmost sincerity.
The prime minister said Bangladesh has achieved its rights in its vast sea areas after winning legal battles in the International Court against its two neighbours India and Myanmar maintaining friendly relations with them.
She said Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had first taken the initiative of establishing legal rights of Bangladesh in its sea areas soon after independence, but the post-1975 governments did nothing to this end.
After assuming office in 1996 after 21 years, the Awami League government collected necessary data and information regarding the matter and took legal measures after coming to power for a second time, she continued.
Bangladesh Navy Chief Admiral Aurangzeb Chowdhury formally handed over the "commissioning Forman" of the ship to Captain Arifur Rahman on behalf of the prime minister at BNS Issa Khan Naval Base in Chattogram.
A video documentary on the BNS Sangram was screened on the occasion.
The BNS Sangram will leave Bangladesh for Lebanon on Friday to take part in a peacekeeping mission.