Chief of Army Staff General SM Shafiuddin Ahmed on Thursday said the Bangladesh Army would cooperate if the civil administration called for any needs, including elections.
He was speaking after taking part in a session on the third day of the DCs’ conference at the Osmani auditorium of the capital.
This is for the first time in recent years that the heads of the Army, Navy and Air force have joined the DCs’ conference.
General Shafiuddin said: “The goal of making Bangladesh a ‘Sonar Bangla’ cannot be achieved without working closely with the civil administration. Therefore, I have proposed a reduction in the gap between the civil administration and the army as much as possible.”
The army chief said assistance from the civil civilian administration was important in carrying out the duties of the military.
“I have come here to indicate that I put greater importance on it,” he added.
General SM Shafiuddin also said that at present the civil administration and the military had a very good relationship and they wanted to go further ahead by capitalizing on it.
Asked about proposals from the DCs in this regard, he said there was no such proposal specifically. “But we have discussed the areas in which we have the potential to enhance civil-military relations.”
He added that there were some proposals that would be premature to share with all right now. “We will discuss a little more, and then it can be implemented.”
Regarding the issues emphasized at the conference, the army chief said: “Environment is very important for me in doing any work together.”
“I have focused on increasing communication with us,” he said, adding that good relationships are important for a good environment.
“The more the communication, the less is the communication gap. The less the communication gap, the better it will be for us to work,” he said.
Responding to a question about his role in the electoral field, Shafiuddin said: “Our first responsibility is to protect the sovereignty of the country in the areas we work in.
“In addition to protecting the sovereignty of the country, we carry out nation-building activities in aid of civil power. Disaster Management is also performed under aid to civil power. We assist in law enforcement too,” he added.
“We are also performing a special duty in the Chittagong Hill Tracts. We are on duty at the FDMN camp in Cox’s Bazar. We, the Bangladesh Army, have been serving abroad within the ambit of our constitution.”
He said a large number of Bangladesh Army personnel were engaged in working in Kuwait, earning a lot of foreign currency for the country.
Besides, the Bangladesh Army has been recognized by the United Nations as the top ranked peacekeeper in the world. “We have seen that the support of the civilian administration is an important factor in carrying out all these activities.”
“Whenever the civilian administration thinks that the Bangladesh Army can stand by its side under the direction of the government, we will respond to their call and of course we will be by their side to fulfil our duty,” he said.