Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday asked the new army officers to serve the country and uphold the spirit of War of Liberation being imbued with patriotism, saying Bangladesh has attained capability to defend its independence and sovereignty.
"We believe in peace as Father of the Nation gave us the foreign policy 'friendship to all, malice to none' and we believe in that foreign policy.
But if we are ever attacked by the outside enemies, we have the ability to protect our independence and sovereignty," she said.
The premier was addressing a ceremony as the chief guest at the parade ground of Bangladesh Military Academy (BMA), Bhatiary, Chattogram marking the President Parade-2021 of the passing out cadets of the 81st BMA Long Course, joining virtually from her official residence Ganabhaban.
Calling the cadets as the children of this country, she said the young officers will have to be equal partners of the happiness, sorrow and laughter of the common people and stand by the people.
Sheikh Hasina said, "Remember, we have achieved this independence in exchange for a river of blood and sacrifice... It is your sacred duty to ensure the protection of this hard-earned independence."
Extending her best wishes and greetings to all the new officers, she said by taking oath today they are entrusted with the sacred duty of defending the great independence and sovereignty of the motherland.
"Protecting the independence and sovereignty of the country should be the main vow of your professional life, even at the cost of supreme sacrifice," she added.
Mentioning that Bangladesh army has been able to earn the acclamation of all quarters through their efficiency and professionalism in discharging duties at home and abroad, she urged the new officials to uphold the dignity.
The prime minister said her government is working to turn Bangladesh Military Academy (BMA) into a state-of-the-art and international standard academy.
Highlighting that ‘Bangabandhu Complex' has been constructed here with all kinds of sophisticated facilities for internal training of cadets, she hoped that this modern training system will play a pivotal role in building a trained and modern army.
She also noted that BMA appeared a successful training institute for the officer cadets of Bangladesh Army in providing advanced training and developing capable leadership envisioned by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Referring to the "Defense Policy" framed by Bangabandhu in 1974, Sheikh Hasina said the Awami League government has formulated "Forces Goal 2030" for the modernization of the Armed Forces in light of the far-reaching defense policy of the Father of the Nation.
She said her government is establishing new infantry divisions, brigades, units and training institutes in the Bangladesh Army alongside taking necessary steps for its overall development.
The prime minister mentioned that three new infantry divisions and the first para commando brigade have already been formed in the army.
She said sophisticated armored vehicles and others equipment such as state-of-the-art engineering and signaling equipment, various weapons, helicopters, aircrafts, modern infantry gazettes and various other weapons have been incorporated to the army.
She said the physical infrastructures required for the new weapons and equipment have been installed and constructed while work is also underway to incorporate and expand a variety of weapons and equipment.
The premier said her government has taken a landmark decision to appoint female officers in the first long-term course in army in 2000 and to recruit the first female soldiers in 2013 to ensure women's empowerment and participation in development activities.
A female officer of the Army Medical Corps has been promoted to the rank of 'Major General' for her leadership and qualifications, she said.
She added female officers of long and short term courses are also being promoted to the rank of 'Lieutenant' and assigned as Commanding Officers and in other important positions.
She went on saying that three female officers of Bangladesh Army in UN peacekeeping missions have brought fame for the country by serving as 'Contingent Commander'.
The premier termed this day as memorable for the Bangladesh Military Academy, saying the trainees from Bangladesh and friendly countries like Palestine and Sri Lanka are going to be commissioned today as lieutenants after completing the three-year long course.
She said Father of the Nation, through his foresight, realized the immense importance and necessity of well-developed and professional armed forces suitable for an independent-sovereign country.
In this connection, she said, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman inaugurated the Bangladesh Military Academy (BMA) in Comilla Cantonment in 1974 with the aim of building a trained, strong and efficient army.
She mentioned that Bangabandhu at the concluding ceremony of first batch's training at the BMA on January 11, 1975 called upon the young military officers to develop them as professionally competent, morally motivated and patriotic.
"Inspired by Bangabandhu's wise, time-honored and far-sighted direction, Bangladesh Army continues to contribute beyond the borders today with professionalism and efficiency," she noted.
At the function, Battalion Senior Under Officer of the 81st BMA Long Course Abdullah Al Islam received the "Sword of Honour" as the best all-round cadet while Company junior under officer Imrul Kayes got the "Army Chief Gold Medal" for his best performances.
On behalf of the prime minister, Chief of Army Staff General S M Shafiuddin Ahmed handed over both the "Sword of Honour" to Abdullah Al Islam and the "Army Chief Gold Medal" to Imrul Kayes.
Chief of Army Staff General S M Shafiuddin Ahmed Also spoke at the programme.