Dhaka, Dec 31 (IANS) The Bangladesh Navy will have its first submarine by 2019, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said, adding Dhaka wants to amicably resolve its maritime boundary issue with neighbours India and Myanmar as it does not want 'a war in the region'.
Hasina said the Bangladesh Navy will have its first submarine with base facility by 2019 and added that her government's plans were to build 'an effective deterrent force'.
She made the announcement while commissioning the navy's first hydrographic survey ship 'Anusandhan' at Isha Khan Naval Base.
Hasina quoted her father and the country's founding leader, the kate president Sheikh Mujibur Rahman as saying that Bangladesh would not interfere in anyone's internal affairs, but if others try to interfere in Bangladesh's internal matters, it would also not be tolerated.
About differences with the neighbouring countries over maritime boundaries, Hasina said efforts are under way to solve the problems.
'We do not want any war or conflict in this region. We believe in peace,' the United News of Bangladesh (UNB) news agency quoted her as saying.
Hasina said the navy will be developed as a modern and well equipped force in the future to boldly resist illegal trespass by foreign ships into Bangladesh territory and to stop smuggling through the sea.
She said by the middle of next year, two helicopters will be included into the BNS Bangabandhu.
The inclusion of these maritime helicopters is a big step forward for making the naval aviation unit up-to-date.
The premier asked the Bangladesh Navy to ensure absolute control over the country's maritime boundaries. 'Our large maritime area is part of our national existence,' she remarked.
About 90 percent of Bangladesh's international trade is taking place through the maritime ways, she mentioned.
'Our large marine area is full of valuable minerals and fish resources. Maintaining absolute control over the maritime areas and ensuring security during procuring the resources are one of the prime duties of the naval force,' she added.
Bangladesh is sandwiched between India and Myanmar in the Bay of Bengal.
Hasina said her government has already decided to open the Chittagong and Mongla ports for neighbouring countries for enhancing cooperation in the economic, political and diplomatic fields.