Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday stressed on building strong armed forces to safeguard the country’s sovereignty.
“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 ... for this, we would continue to do whatever is necessary,” she told the commissioning function of the first two submarines of Bangladesh Navy, reports BSS.
Earlier, Sheikh Hasina formally commissioned the Bangladesh Navy’s two submarines named ‘Nabajatra’ and ‘Joyjatra’ at a special ceremony in the Chittagong Naval Berth.
Sheikh Hasina expressed her firm belief that the newly-commissioned submarines would play an important role during any crisis period.
The Prime Minister said a few countries of the world operate submarines, and Bangladesh has been placed in that list from today. “As a nation, it's a matter of a great honour and dignity for us,” she said.
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 said Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman gave ‘naval ensign’ to Bangladesh Navy in 1974 by realising the importance of the navy for the just independent Bangladesh and expressed her firm resolve to establish a modern and strong naval force.
“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.
Due to the protection of the act, she said, Bangladesh earned the authority over huge maritime area from Myanmar and India through international arbitration, opening the avenue towards the potentially of the "Blue Economy" for the country.
“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.
Sheikh 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.
The Prime Minister 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.
The Prime Minister later witnessed an introduction exhibition on achieving capability of a three-dimensional force by the navy with the participation of BN Ship Bangabandhu, two helicopters, two MPAs and an all-round naval commando team.
She also inaugurated various base support facilities constructed for the submarines and laid the foundation stone of BNS Sheikh Hasina, a full-fledged base for the submarines.
Ministers, parliament members, advisers to the prime minister, the chiefs of three services, diplomats, high civil and military officials and also editors and senior journalists were present on the occasion.
Earlier, on her arrival at the Chittagong Naval Base, Sheikh Hasina was received by Naval Chief Admiral Nizamuddin Ahmed and Commander of Chittagong Naval Region Rear Admiral M Abu Ashraf.
A ship brought Bangladesh's first submarines to Chittagong Port from China on December 22. Earlier, the submarines were handed over to Bangladesh on November 14. On behalf of the Chinese government, Rear Admiral Liu Zizhu handed over the submarines to Bangladesh Navy Chief Admiral Mohammad Nizamuddin Ahmed at a function at a Dalian city shipyard in Liaoning province.
The conventional diesel electric submarines are 76 metres in length and 7.6 metres in width, equipped with torpedoes and mines, which are capable of attacking enemy warships and submarines.
The highest speed of the submarines is about 17 nautical miles per hour and their displacement is 1609 tonnes.
The naval personnel of both the countries completed a sea trial and real training to operate the submarines, an ISPR release said after their arrival in Chittagong on Dec 22.