The Bangladesh Army was not an inheritance. It was built from the ground up through many trials and hardships. When they raised the Army, there were shortages of everything except the patriotism and will to Defend the Motherland, which the men of the Army and Bangladesh Rifles fought to defend selflessly through the guidance of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s clarion call.
“Ebarer sangram amader muktir sangram, ebarer sangram swadhinatar sangram” (The struggle this time is for our emancipation, the struggle this time is for our independence),” the great leader of the nation affirmed.
The whole nation responded spontaneously to Bangabandhu’s call with thunderous slogan “Bir Bangalee Astra Dharo, Bangladesh Swadhin Karo” (Brave Bangalees take up arms and free Bangladesh from occupation).
The forceful speech inspired people of all walks of life to prepare for the war, which eventually began after the Pakistani regime on March 25, 1971 launched on the unarmed Bengalis the worst genocides in history, which continued in the subsequent nine months.
At the instruction of Bangabandhu, the brave nation fought successfully the War of Liberation and ultimately liberated Bangladesh from the Pakistani occupation on December 16, 1971.
Today the Bangladesh Army is recognised as a professional, well-trained and highly capable land force of the world. Its personnel are experienced in operating in all climates and combat theater environments with specialisations in riverine, jungle and desert warfare honed through decades of deployment at home and abroad.
From Belize to the deserts of Kuwait and bushlands of Africa. The Bangladesh Army has carved a name for itself as the dependable force that gets the job done without ever retreating.
With the advent of modern technologies warfare is evolving from a traditional army vs army conflict to new enemy that does not adhere to Geneva conventions of war – meaning the bad guys will use every means at their disposal to fight making encounters all the more deadly.
This means armies have to become more adept, technologically advanced, well-trained and resolute against all types of unconventional threats in addition to other conventional armies.
It means increasingly armies including that of Bangladesh’s, have to invest in signal intelligence equipment that are both land and airborne. They have to attain capability to fight in urban spaces, devote extensive resources to psychological warfare and intelligence gathering apparatus.
Bangladesh is fortunately blessed with a large human resource pool, from which the Army can select relatively quality candidates who can be shaped in to warriors. The warriors of the future will need to be multi-skilled, easily trainable and dedicated beyond the call of duty because like their foes, they should not get used to a life of luxury, which leads to complacency.
The future of the Bangladesh Army is a bright one that is being prepared with inclusion of a large array of modern armaments, increased capacity building efforts through attainment of skilled manpower, advanced war-fighting technologies and a qualitative edge that will ensure dominance on the battlefield against enemies large or small, conventional and unconventional.
Army Headquarters can be commended for their vision – they know what is needed to be done and how to get things done. It is a blessing for Bangladesh Army that it enjoys complete support of the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, also the Defence Minister.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is ensuring rapid expansion and modernisation of the Bangladesh Army. In the past decade the premier land force of the country instituted a modernisation and expansion plan that saw the raising of 3 infantry divisions, 14 brigades, 154 units and 56 ad-hoc units since 2009.
There are major equipment such as light tanks, surface-to-air missiles, automatic grenade launchers, assault rifles, night vision devices, Oerlikon radar-controlled air defence gun system, Skyguard radar and tank simulator also being delivered.
The Bangladesh Army is procuring long range firepower projection weapons that will change the balance of firepower in its favour in the battlespace through the introduction of tactical missile systems, medium artillery guns, air-defence weapons, anti-tank weapons, unmanned systems, aircraft and new generation infantry weapons.
It can be readily said the Bangladesh Army is on the correct path to realise Forces Goal 2030.