Chief of Army Staff General SM Shafiuddin Ahmed has called upon army personnel to embrace contemporary training methods, emphasizing the need to prepare for the challenges of the 21st century. The General made this plea while serving as the chief guest at the 18th Annual Commanders’ Conference of the Bangladesh Infantry Regiment, held at the Rajshahi Cantonment on Monday (11th December 2023). During his address at the conference, General Ahmed also expressed gratitude to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for the government’s support in modernizing the army. Reflecting on the esteemed legacy of the Bangladesh Infantry Regiment, he highlighted the regiment’s significant contributions to national service. Speaking directly to captains and officers of the Bangladesh Infantry Regiment units, the army chief asserted that their participation in the annual conference would instill fresh enthusiasm among regiment members. He underscored the commitment of every core member to set a distinct example in serving the nation in the days ahead.
Bangladesh Army’s Enduring Impact
More than five decades have passed since 1971, the historic day when the courageous personnel of the Bangladesh Army, Navy, and Air Force officially united to launch joint operations against the larger Pakistani occupant forces. The audacious actions of a determined few, driven by the righteousness of their cause, yielded abundant effects. The events of November 21, 1971, may not have been grand in terms of resources, troops, and operational diversity, but the unity demonstrated and the morale boost achieved were truly tremendous for the people of ‘Golden Bangla.’
Armed forces have consistently played a vital role in safeguarding a country’s national interests and promoting national security and prosperity. The Bangladesh Army, the largest among the three forces, is undeniably credited with a lion’s share of remarkable achievements. The Bangladesh Army, now stands tall within and beyond the country. The Army is recognized as a beacon of peace in the international arena due to its contributions to overall peace support operations worldwide since 1988.
According to the official website of the Armed Forces Division, 144 Bangladeshi peacekeepers have already made the ultimate sacrifice, and 247 have suffered significant injuries while facing ‘unknown enemies on foreign soil.’ Among them, 131 martyrs and 232 injured peacekeepers are from the Bangladesh Army.
Undoubtedly, their supreme sacrifice has brought immense pride to the entire country. The Army’s unwavering dedication to protecting the nation’s sovereignty and its tireless commitment to global peace efforts inspire us all.
The Invaluable Role of the Bangladesh Army in Addressing National Calamities
In war and peace, members of the Bangladesh Army stand unwavering for the nation. The commendable contributions of the Bangladesh Army to nation-building activities and its status as one of the most professional organizations in the country are widely acknowledged. Whether it’s a flood, earthquake, landslide, cyclone, or any natural or man-made calamity, the Bangladesh Army is always prompt in responding. The Army’s contributions during the floods in 1988 and 1998, the cyclone in 1991, Sidr in 2007, Aila in 2009, the Rana Plaza tragedy in 2013, and the flood-hit Sylhet in 2022 testify to that commitment. The Army’s fearless and prompt action during the ‘Holey Artisan Café’ attack in 2016 and Atia Mahal in 2017 demonstrates its impeccable efficiency against unique and challenging threats.
Moreover, the Army is doing an astounding job by proudly constructing a 1,036 km Border Road stretching across the three hilly districts of Rangamati, Khagrachhari, and Bandarban, which will help authorities prevent violence in the hilly region and boost trade and tourism.
Countrywide construction projects, including the construction of a marine drive from Cox’s Bazar to Teknaf, several flyovers in Dhaka, the Hatirjheel project, Machine Readable Passport Project, Voter ID project, etc., have added laurels to the Bangladesh Army. The force takes pride in ensuring security for the country’s first-ever nuclear power plant and forming the nucleus of security for the president and the prime minister.
The pivotal contribution of the Bangladesh Army to distributing relief, providing logistics, and ensuring security for the Forcibly Displaced Myanmar Nationals (FDMNs) in Cox’s Bazar since the influx has earned respect and admiration worldwide.
Development Initiatives for Bangladesh Army
The government has prioritized the modernization of the Bangladesh Army’s equipment, ensuring they are equipped with cutting-edge technology and weaponry. Over the past decade, significant efforts have been made to modernize various arms and services in the Bangladesh army. Modernization isn’t just about equipment; it’s also about skilled personnel. The government has invested in training programs and capacity building to ensure that the army is proficient in operating and maintaining advanced technologies.
Bangladesh’s government is taking decisive steps to modernize its army, combining financial investment, international collaboration, and a forward-looking strategic vision to ensure the country’s defense capabilities meet the challenges of the 21st century.