Dhaka – Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said on Sunday that her country would never want to engage in war, but will give a fitting reply if anyone attacks.
“We don’t want to engage in war, but there would be our instant preparation for giving a befitting reply, if anyone attacks the country … we would continue to do whatever is necessary for that,” she said commissioning two submarines in Bangladesh’s naval fleet.
The China-made submarines were bought to strengthen Bangladesh’s military capacity in the Bay of Bengal after it resolved maritime disputes with neighbouring Myanmar and India in the recent past.
The Prime Minister also emphasized building strong armed forces to safeguard sovereignty.
Bangladesh wants to maintain good relations with all to develop the country and ensure welfare for its people.
“But as an independent state, we would procure everything necessary for protecting the country’s sovereignty and independence,” she said inaugurating the submarines “Nabajatra” and “Joyjatra” at a special ceremony in the Chittagong Naval Berth.
Hasina expressed her firm belief that the newly-commissioned submarines would play an important role during any crisis period.
Recalling the glorious history of the naval commandoes during the war of liberation, the prime minister directed the submariners to face the challenges of operating submarines with immense courage and being imbued with the spirit of patriotism.
She advised the officers to ensure optimum utilization of the two submarines with a patriotic zeal, merit and labour. “My all-time good wishes will be there so that your all operational missions become successful,” she said.
She said Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman gave “naval ensign” to Bangladesh Navy in 1974 by realizing the importance of the navy for the just independent Bangladesh and expressed her firm resolve to establish a modern and strong naval force.
“Following the guidelines of the Father of the Nation, we have been able to induct submarines into strengthening our navy,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina said her government after assuming office in 1996 took various realistic measures for infrastructural development, procurement of warships and raising operational capability of the existing ships, according to state-run Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha news agency.
“Bangladesh Navy has been gradually turned into a dignified force on the world stage by way of implementing a far-reaching vision for the navy,” she said.
Pointing out that operating submarines as a risky job, she said, “The tough work would be easy when you would work by utilizing your training and initiatives.”
She added: “You are new crews and your aim should be to get prepared for real operation by gathering experience of running submarines in the sea.”
The prime minister also directed the submariners to make contributions to framing a policy and building infrastructure and equipment to establish the newly-framed “submarine arm” as a full-fledged branch.
Hasina said her government after assuming office in 2009 has been working ceaselessly for establishing regional peace and security. “We’re determined so that none can conduct terrorist acts by using our territory like in the past,” she said.
She said the present government has already taken various short and long-term plans to build Bangladesh Navy as an effective “three-dimensional force”. “The plans would be implemented by 2030 Insha Allah,” she said.
Hasina said in Bangladesh’s history, the highest number of warships have been inducted into the navy within shortest time during the present government.
She said the most modern corvettes procured from China recently have increased the strength of the navy. “Besides, our own capability to construct warships is being boosted and the work on building modern LPCs is underway at Khulna Shipyard,” she said.
Hasina said the present government has taken a project to construct frigates at Chittagong Dry Dock run by Bangladesh Navy. “With the execution of the project, Bangladesh would achieve self-reliance in building warships,” she said.
The premier paid her heart-felt tributes to Bangabandhu and said the Father of the Nation in his historic six-point charter of demands raised the issue of establishing the naval headquarters in Purba Bangla.
“Bangabandhu through his prudence and farsightedness framed “The Territorial Waters and Maritime Zones Act-1974″ through which the international tribunal didn’t start work at that time,” she said.