Speaking via video link from the Ganabhaban on Wednesday, the prime minister addressed the winter President’s Parade 2020 by Bangladesh Navy’s Midshipman-2018 Alpha batch and Direct Entry Officer-2020 Bravo batch at the Bangladesh Naval Academy or NVA.
“Our target at all times is that our independent country will keep its head high on the world stage and we will make all sorts of preparation to protect the independence and sovereignty of our country,” she said.
“We will always follow the foreign policy - friendship towards all, malice towards none. We want peace, not war with anyone. But we are building our forces with such training that they can protect independence and sovereignty,” the prime minister said.
She quoted Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman from his speech on the Navy Day on Dec 10, 1974 in Chattogram. “The Father of the Nation said a nation that can’t respect itself or defend its dignity ultimately can never become a big nation in the world. So today we want to be a nation with dignity," her daughter said.
“We don’t want to interfere in others’ matters and, in turn, won’t tolerate others to meddle in our affairs – that is our principle.”
Hasina reiterated the Navy’s contribution in the Liberation War and mentioned different government steps to modernise and develop the naval force.
She said it was her first Awami League government that handed over the Khulna Shipyard to the Navy in 1996.
“The dockyards that we had, Dry Dockyard, in Chattogram and in Narayanganj, we handed them over to the Navy. The aim is that we will also build warships in our shipyard and some work has already begun.”
She announced that a submarine base is being established at Cox’s Bazar Pekua to utilise the huge marine resources as part of the government’s efforts to proceed with the country’s economic development.
Hasina pointed out that having returned to power 21 years after the death of Bangabandhu, the Awami League successfully worked towards making the country financially self-sustaining.