United Nations (UN) officials have expressed interest in deploying more peacekeepers from Bangladesh in bilateral meetings with Chief of Army Staff General S M Shafiuddin Ahmed at UN Headquarters (UNHQs) in New York.
The Bangladesh army chief had meetings with senior officials of the UN on various issues of mutual interest, including peacekeeping operations during his visit to UNHQ on 25 and 26 April, according to a message received in Dhaka on Wednesday.
General Ahmed met with UN Under-Secretary-General of Department of Security and Safety Gilles Michaud, Acting Military Adviser Major General Maureen O'Brien, Assistant Secretary-General (ASG) of Department of Political and Peace Building Affairs Mohammed Khaled Khiari, ASG of Department of Operational Support Christian Saunders and Police Adviser Luis Ribeiro Carrilho.
During the meetings, the Bangladesh army chief proposed to replace the long-used weapons and equipment in the Bangladeshi contingents of the peacekeeping mission with new weapons and equipment sourced from Bangladesh, to which the concerned officials readily agreed.
As a result, the long-awaited issue of replacing weapons was resolved which would eventually play a significant role in enhancing Bangladeshi peacekeepers' capability, security, and morale, said a press release of the Bangladesh Permanent Mission to UN.
The army chief mentioned that Bangladeshi peacekeepers are nominated through a rigorous selection process and sent to the mission with advanced pre-deployment training.
The UN acting military adviser highly praised the Bangladeshi peacekeepers' professionalism, ethics, and discipline.
He said that Bangladesh is at the forefront of UN peacekeeping operations for all these reasons.
He expressed interest in recruiting more peacekeepers from Bangladesh in the future.
Khaled Khiari also lauded Bangladesh's leadership in the Peacebuilding Commission and UN Peacekeeping missions.
He also praised the government and the people of Bangladesh for its graduation from the LDC category and for providing humanitarian shelter to the forcibly displaced Rohingyas.
During the talks, the acting military adviser and the ASG of the Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs requested the Bangladesh army chief to deploy an aviation contingent to the UN peacekeeping mission as soon as possible.
The army chief agreed in principle to the request.
Christian Sounders also praised the professionalism and logistical capabilities of Bangladeshi peacekeepers.
He also expressed interest in recruiting more Bangladeshi peacekeepers for different missions.
Luis Riberio Carrilho commended the Bangladeshi police personnel engaged in peacekeeping operations and expressed interest in recruiting more Bangladeshi police personnel.
The Bangladesh army chief highlighted Dhaka's constitutional commitment to world peace and raised issues of Bangladesh's interest in the UN peacekeeping operations, such as the recruitment of more Bangladeshi peacekeepers, including women peacekeepers.
He also discussed the appointment of high-level military officials in various peacekeeping operations, deployment of armed personnel carriers from Bangladesh, recruitment of Bangladeshi peacekeepers to the political missions and guard units, recruitment of skilled and experienced officers of Bangladesh Army in the Security and Safety, and the Operational Support Department of UNHQs and deployment of more Police Contingents and Individual Police Officers (IPOs).
The chief of army staff visited the bench set up in the name of Bangabandhu and the tree -Honey Locust, at the UN Headquarters premises on the occasion of the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.