Dhaka prepares national defence policy

April 1st, 2009 - 11:35 am ICT by IANS  

Sheikh Hasina Dhaka, April 1 (IANS) Bangladesh is readying its first draft of a national defence policy, a minister has said.
“The government has already prepared a draft policy on national defence by forming a council. It will be finalised on consultation with competent people,” Air Vice Marshal (retd.) A.K. Khandaker, planning minister, told the Jatiya Sangsad (parliament) Tuesday.

Preparing a national defence policy has been discussed for a long time but none of the previous governments completed the task, The Daily Star newspaper said.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s Awami League party, in its election manifesto issued last December, had promised to prepare the country’s first defence policy to strengthen the defence forces.

Replying to a query of Awami League (AL) lawmaker Nasimul Alam Chowdhury, Khandaker, a former Bangladesh Air Force chief and in charge of the defence ministry for the parliamentary business, said the government has initiated steps to formulate a national defence policy in keeping with the poll pledge.

The South Asian nation that won its independence in 1971 after a liberation war with Pakistan, has a standing army estimated at 250,000, besides air force and the navy.

Its border guard, the Bangladesh Rifles (BDR), with a strength of 67,000 is in the process of being dismantled and raised afresh after its troopers mutinied in February over low wages and poor working conditions.

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