Dhaka, Apr 16: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Monday joined the concluding ceremony of a Saudi-led joint grand military exercise named “Gulf Shield-1” in the kingdom’s eastern province of Al-Jubail.She attended the function at the invitation of Saudi King and the custodian of the two holy mosques Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud as the parades of armed forces of 24 participating countries including Bangladesh featured the ceremony.
Premier’s press secretary Ihsanul Karim said the Saudi king greeted Sheikh Hasina on arrival at the venue as he oversaw the conclusion of the military drill in the presence of a number of leaders of friendly countries which took part in the month-long exercise.
Saudi Arabia organised the drill for boosting defence cooperation and coordination with friendly countries to protect the Gulf region’s security and peace through enhanced military readiness and to ensure global peace in general.
The participating countries were the USA, the UK, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, Egypt, Jordan, Sudan, Mauritania, Malaysia, Pakistan, Chad, Djibouti, Niger, Comoros, Afghanistan, Oman, Guyana, Turkey, and Burkina Faso.
An 18-member delegation of Bangladesh Armed Forces took part in the exercise that began on March 18.
Spokesman for the military exercise Saudi Brigadier General Abdullah Al-Subaie on Saturday said the country’s defence ministry organised the drill with participants of land, air and naval forces from the 24 countries.
He said the drills featured two types of military operations with one being conventional military operations represented by coastal defense attacks against the enemy.
The other one, Abdullah said, was the irregular war operations carried out by besieging and penetrating villages and industrial installations so as to cleanse them of hostile elements.
The spokesman noted that one of the most important aims of the exercise was to activate the concept of joint military combat operations plans to counter hostile acts that could threaten the security and stability of the region.
“The exercise displayed the military uniformity between the participating countries, in addition to the development of a sense of collective security, unity and common destiny,” he said.
Saudi Arabia said the drill was also expected to strengthen the relationship between brothers and friends participating in the exercise, standardize and activate the systems and procedures of command, control, and communication of the participating forces and finally give training on logistics operations in military operations.
Analysts considered the exercise as one of the largest in the region, both in terms of the number of participating countries and the quality of its weapons.
Some of them called the Gulf Shield-1 drill a turning point in terms of the techniques used in accordance with the most modern military systems in the world.
Sheikh Hasina will leave Dammam for London this afternoon to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) Summit.