Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said Bangladesh wants to strengthen its capacity to resist any external attack.
“We don’t want to fight a war against anyone… but we want to attain the capability of resisting any external foes so that we can do that if we are ever attacked by them,” she said.
The PM said the Father of the Nation had formulated Bangladesh’s foreign policy — “Friendship to all, Malice to none”. “We believe in that policy.”
Hasina was addressing a programme marking the commissioning of five modern ships of Bangladesh Navy at the Naval Berth-1 in Chattogram.
Among the five are three warships — BNS Umar Farooq, BNS Abu Ubaidah and BNS Prottasha, and two survey ships — BNS Darshak and BNS Tallashi.
The premier commissioned the ships through a video conference from the Gono Bhaban.
Hasina said the government has been making efforts to build Bangladesh Navy as a three-dimensional force.
She said the commissioning of the five modern ships would further strengthen the country’s naval force.
“With this, Bangladesh Navy has moved one step forward towards its progress.”
Referring to the construction of the two survey ships at Khulna Shipyard, the premier said Bangladesh has achieved the capacity of building modern ships.
She said her previous government (1996-2001) had handed over the Khulna Shipyard to Bangladesh Navy in order to modernise it further. “As a result, we have achieved the shipbuilding capacity.”
Hasina said she firmly believes that the two modern frigates and one corvette made by China and the two modern survey ships would strengthen the capacity of Bangladesh Navy in protecting the sovereignty of the country.
She expressed optimism that Bangladesh would gradually achieve the capacity of building ships for other countries.
The PM said the government has been working to build a vibrant blue economy by utilising marine resources for Bangladesh’s economic prosperity.
“We not only want to protect our sea areas, but also use marine resources so that we can achieve economic prosperity. We have adopted the concept of blue economy and have been working on it.”
Hasina said Bangladesh attained its sovereignty in a vast sea area as the then Awami League government took proper measures after assuming office in 2009.
Chief of Naval Staff Admiral M Shaheen Iqbal, on behalf of the PM, formally handed over the “commissioning forman [statement]” of the ships to their respective captains at the Naval Berth.