Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said ensuring global peace is now far more challenging than in the past due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
"With coronavirus, rapid spread of technology, and advancement of time, new elements of threats have emerged," she said.
Hasina was speaking at the closing ceremony of 'Exercise Front Runner of Peace-2021', from her official residence Gono Bhaban.
On the occasion of the birth centenary of her father and country’s first president Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the golden jubilee of independence, a multinational exercise -- organised by Bangladesh Army -- was held at Bangabandhu Cantonment in Ghatail, Tangail from April 4 to 12, The Daily Star said.
Military members from India, Bhutan, and Sri Lanka along with their Bangladeshi counterpart participated in the exercise, the newspaper reported.
Hasina said peacekeepers in UN missions have to deal with multidimensional and complex situations. "The number of deaths among peacekeepers is rising at an alarming rate."
The prime minister said 158 Bangladeshi peacekeepers died and 237 were injured. "Time has come to equip peacekeepers with appropriate training and equipment to deal with the upcoming crises in UN peacekeeping operations."
Hasina said the recent incidents that happened in UN peacekeeping missions were presented in 'Exercise Front Runner of Peace' so that the future peacekeepers may be trained well in making appropriate decisions to deal with such situations.
She said properly trained armed forces are essential to safeguard the national integrity and sovereignty of any country.
"Similarly, there's no alternative to regular exercise in proving the capabilities of the military members."
Returning to power in 2009, she said, the Awami League government formulated a long-term plan titled 'Forces Goal-2030', and it is being implemented with the aim of developing a highly professional and trained military.
In 2016 the government established 'Bangladesh Peacebuilding Centre' (BPC), which It has made significant progress in modernising the three forces.
So far, over 175,000 Bangladeshi peacekeepers, including 1,800 women, have participated in 54 missions in 40 countries of five continents while more than 7,000 Bangladeshi army and police personnel are currently deployed in 10 peacekeeping missions, the PM said.
"In every mission, our peacekeepers have raised the flag of the United Nations high as well as brightened Bangladesh's image. That's why Bangladesh has become one of the highest peacekeeper-providing countries in the world today," she said.
She said even during the pandemic when the world economy got stalled, the government has tried to keep Bangladesh's economy moving, enabling the country to achieve 5.4 percent GDP growth. "By the time we've been elevated to the developing nation status."