Vol. 5 Num 567 Fri. December 30, 2005  

Sophisticated 3-dimensional Naval Force to be built: PM

Prime Minister Khaleda Zia yesterday said new-tech warships, helicopters and maritime patrol-aircraft will join the naval fleet to build a sophisticated and balanced three-dimensional Bangladesh Naval Force.

"Though Bangladesh is not very big in dimension, our maritime boundary is large. Due to geographical location and strategic reason, it is important to ensure well-protection of this boundary and to have all time vigilance in the sea," she told the President's Parade of Bangladesh Naval Force.

The winter parade was organised to mark the successful commissioning of the Midshipmen of Naval Academy's 2004 Alfa Batch.

Khaleda, who is in charge of the Defence Ministry, said despite resource constraints, her government continued efforts to establish a strong Naval Force through its modernisation and enhancement of its capability. Within this short time, five offshore vessels, two Tugs and two-PPM Boats already joined the Bangladesh Navy, she added.

"Our avowed target is to build a modern, efficient and balanced three-dimensional Navy that is in the process," she told the function at the parade ground of Bangladesh Naval Academy.

She said the immense responsibility and round-the-clock duty of the naval force not only necessary at wartime but also in the rough-wave-sea in normal time."

Ministers, MPs, diplomats, chiefs of three services of the armed forces and guardians of the newly commissioned naval officers attended the function.

The PM said a skilled and talented manpower was necessary to conduct the massive activities of the naval force to meet the demand of the country. The Bangladesh Naval Academy since its inception has been playing a laudable role to build competent, skilled and ideal naval officers. And for this reason the reputation of this academy has spread to outside world, she added.

Naval officers of various levels from Qatar, Palestine, the Maldives, Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan and Turkey are receiving training from this academy, Khaleda said, expressing her happiness to know that four midshipmen of Palestine got also commissions through today's programme. Moreover, a cadet from Maldives is now receiving training from the academy, she said.

"The attainment of international standard by Bangladesh Naval Aacdemy is undoubtedly a matter of pride for us," Khaleda said, adding "Bangladesh Naval Academy earned the national standard in 2003 in recognition of its effective role in building an efficient naval force and successes in last three decades."

Some 29 Midshipmen, including 4 Palestinians and a Midshipwoman got commission to become Acting Sub Lieutenants.

Akram Uddin Zahid was adjudged the best all rounder Midshipman and was awarded the Sword of Honour. Zahid also got the Osmani Gold Medal and Gold Medal of the Chief of Naval Staff for his outstanding performance in academic and professional subjects. The PM distributed the awards.

Earlier, a smartly turned-out contingent of naval cadets gave a guard of honour to Khaleda. She also reviewed the parade boarding a decorated jeep and later took salute from an impressive march past by the new cadets.

As the PM reached the parade ground, Navy Chief Rear Admiral M Hassan Ali Khan,

Commodore Commanding Chittagong Commander Bazlur Rahman and Commanding Officer of Bangladesh Naval Academy Capt M Nasir received her in a ceremonial motorcade of Bangladesh Navy.

Prime Minister Khaleda Zia presents the Sword of Honour to best Midshipman Akram Uddin Zahid at the Naval Academy Parade Ground in Chittagong yesterday. PHOTO: PID