Army of Bangladesh

Bangladesh Army
File:Bd army.png
Seal and Emblem of Bangladesh Army
Active 26 March 1971 – present
Country  Bangladesh
Allegiance Constitution of Bangladesh
Type Army
Size 350,000

2,319 armoured vehicles including 800+ tanks(600+ main battle tanks)

Part of Bangladesh Armed Forces
Headquarters Dhaka Cantonment
Nickname BA
Motto "In War, In Peace We are Everywhere for our Country"
Mascot Crossed Scimitars
Anniversaries 26 March
10 April
21 November
16 December
Engagements Bangladesh Liberation War
Chittagong Hill Tracts Insurgency
Gulf War
Decorations 1. Bir Sreshtho
2. Bir Uttom
3. Bir Bikrom
4. Bir Protik
Minister of Defence Hon. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina
Chief of Army Staff General Iqbal Karim Bhuiyan, psc
Chief of the General Staff Lieutenant General Moinul Islam
Principal Staff Officer (PSO) Lieutenant General Abu Belal Mohammad Shafiul Haque [1]

The Bangladesh Army is the land forces branch and the largest of the three uniformed service of the Bangladesh Armed Forces. The primary mission of the Army is to provide necessary forces and capabilities in support of Bangladesh's security and defence strategies including defence of the nation's territorial integrity against external attack. Control and operations are administered by the Department of the Army of the Armed Forces Division. The civilian head is the Prime Minister, who by law also holds the defence ministry portfolio. In addition to its primary mission the Bangladesh Army is also constitutionally obligated to assist the civilian government during times of national emergency. This role is commonly referred to as “aid to civil administration”. The current strength of the army is around 3,50,000.[1]


Early history

The martial tradition of Bengal has its roots in the during Mughal rule since the early 18th century, when three successive Muslim dynasties, namely the Nasiri, Afshar and Najafi, ruled Bengal. During the Colonial Rule of the British, Bengal was principally a bulwark of British power and trade in the South Asian region. The British under Robert Clive defeated a 50,000 strong Bengal Army of Nawab Siraj-ud-daullah in the Polashey(Plassey) in 1757 and later the forces of Nawab Mir Qasim at the Battle of Buxar in 1764. The Army of Bengal was formed, which later became part of a united Indian Army from 1895 to 1947. The eastern part of the region was a prominent place for military and police recruitment, with entire horse-mounted cavalry and lancer units being recruited there prior to the Bengal Sepoy Mutiny of 1857. Post-mutiny, units with the epithet "Bengal" in their name, such as Bengal Sappers and Bengal Cavalry, were largely recruited from non-Bengali peoples from Bihar, Varanasi and Uttar Pradesh which were technically still part of Bengal Presidency at that time. After the creation of the nation of Pakistan, recruitment from erstwhile East Pakistan began in 1948 into the East Bengal Regiment, newly created with all Bengali personnel, part of the Pakistan Army till 1971. On 25 March 1971 Pakistan Armed Forces started killing Bengali civilians and Bengali soldiers. As a result in March 1971, Bengali soldiers in East Pakistan (Bangladesh) revolted and the Bangladesh Independence War started. There was a Bangladesh Army Sector Commanders Conference during 11–17 July 1971. The conference was held three months after the oath of the newly formed Bangladesh Government at Meherpur, Kushtia. During this conference the structure and formation as well as resolving issues surrounding the organization of the various sectors, strategy and reinforcements of the Bangladeshi forces was determined. It was of considerable historical importance from a tactical point of view, as it determined the command structure of the Bangladeshi forces throughout Bangladesh Liberation War that was fought between Bangladesh (East Pakistan until 25 March 1971) and West Pakistan in 1971.

This conference was presided over by the Bangladesh interim government in exile, headed by then Prime Minister Tajuddin Ahmed and Colonel (Retd.) M. A. G. Osmani. M. A. G. Osmani was reinstated into active duty and promoted to General as the Commander-in-Chief of the Bangladesh Forces. Principal participants of this conference included: Squadron Leader M. Hamidullah Khan, Major Ziaur Rahman, Major Abdul Jalil, Captain ATM Haider, Lt. Col. Abdur Rab and Major Khaled Mosharraf. Lt.Col Rab was appointed as Chief of Army Staff. As a result of this meeting, Bangladesh was divided into eleven sectors. These sectors were placed under the control of Sector Commanders, who would direct the guerilla war against Pakistani occupation forces. For better efficiency in military operations each of the sectors were also divided into a number of sub-sectors. As a point of note, the 10th Sector was under direct command of the Commander-in-Chief and included the Naval Commando Unit as a C-in-C’s special force.

Following the conference a period of prolonged guerilla warfare was launched by Bangladesh Forces, which continued for a number of months. A further restructuring was undertaken, and the Bangladesh Forces were organized into three brigade size combat groups.

Post 1971: The emergence of the Bangladesh Army

Bangladesh Army has expanded considerably albeit erratically since its formation on 21 November 1971. During the sensitive and formative years after the end of the war, personnel of the Mukti Bahini were absorbed into different branches of Bangladesh Army. Sheikh Mujib's Awami League government created disenchantment among army personnel when his party formed and operated state funded separate militia groups around the nation run locally by his party men at the command of his son Sheikh Kamal. These policies and actions laid the foundation and formed the bedrock of disputes between professional army officers and the ruling administration.

Coups, uprisings and assassinations

The year 1975 was a turning point year in the history of Bangladesh as a nation. On 15 August 1975 few disgruntled members of the Bangladesh Armed Forces have been involved in two assassinations and coups albeit without the knowledge or participation of the entire Bangladesh Armed Forces. In 1975 a few sacked, disgruntled junior officers and NCOs secretly planned and assassinated the entire immediate family of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman at his personal residence in Dhanmondi, Dhaka, with the exception of his two daughters who were abroad. Some of those responsible officers were finally brought to justice in January 2010. Some are still at large. A new government led by Khandkar Mushtaq Ahmed and almost the entire cabinet of Sheikh Mujib's government was set in place. Three months later on 3 November 1975, several senior officers and NCO's led by Maj. Gen. Khaled Mosharraf and Colonel Shafaat Jamil led their own forces to untangle another internal conspiracy and removed Khandakar Mushtaq's government from power whom they believed was an unlawful government in the first place. That same day the same group of disgruntled army personnel who assassinated Sheikh Mujib and his family took action that resulted in the assassination and jailing of several senior Army officers and noted civilians who were involved in the nations war of independence. Those jailed and later assassinated inside the jail premises were Syed Nazrul Islam, Tajuddin Ahmed, Muhammad Mansur Ali and AHM Qamaruzzaman. Chief of Army Staff, Major General Ziaur Rahman was placed under house arrest. On 7 November 1975, a short but highly organized uprising concentrated only in Dhaka, formed by members of the Jatiyo Samajtantrik Dal (National Socialist Party) and members of lower-ranking army personnel led by Lt. Col. (Retd.) Abu Taher also resulted in the killing of several army and air force officers and men including Major General Khaled Mosharraf, Major ATM Haider to name just a few. Colonel Shafaat Jamil was arrested and forcibly retired. Major General Ziaur Rahman was released and took the opportunity to bring order and discipline in the country as well as in the armed forces under temporary martial law. Zia took promotion to Lieutenant General and was appointed Chief of Army Staff and Deputy Chief Martial Law Administrator. Later, in 1977 under a public referendum of a yes no vote he took the helm as President. On 30 May 1981 President Ziaur Rahman was assassinated in the Chittagong Circuit House in a military coup. Less than a year later, the then Chief of Army Staff Lt. Gen. Hussein Muhammad Ershad in 1982 March 24 took power in a silent coup at dawn, suspended the constitution and imposed martial law and remained in power through farce elections and corruption. He remained in power until 6 December 1990.

Subsequent growth

Following the 1975 coup, additional personnel were absorbed into the regular army when the martial law government abolished the Jatiyo Rakkhi Bahini. Under Zia's rule, Bangladesh was divided into five military regions. When Ershad assumed power in 1982, army strength had stabilized at about 70,000 troops. Starting in 1985, the army had experienced another spurt in growth. As of mid-1988, it had about 90,000 troops (although some observers believed the number was closer to 80,000), triple the 1975 figure.[2]

The Bangladesh Army structure is similar to the armies of the Commonwealth Nations. However, major changes have taken place following the adoption of U.S. Army tactical planning procedures, training management techniques and noncommissioned officer educational systems. In times of war and national emergency, the Bangladesh Army can also be reinforced by the Border Guard Bangladesh, Bangladesh Ansars, Village Defence Parties and other paramilitary organizations.

Bangladesh Army has specialized its peacekeeping operation capabilities around the world through participation in numerous peacekeeping and nation building operations. It has created BIPSOT (Bangladesh Institute of Peace Support Operation Training) which specializes in the training of peacekeepers for employment in all types of UNPSO (UN Peace Support Operations). This institute fulfills the requirement of UNDPKO as per U.N. General Assembly resolution which outlines ‘the necessity and responsibility of every nation to train their armed forces before any deployment. The U.S. Military has taken a keen interest and currently participating in this area.

Major operations

Chittagong Hill Tracts Conflict

The Chittagong Hill Tracts Conflict was the political conflict and armed struggle between the Government of Bangladesh by the Parbatya Chattagram Jana Sanghati Samiti (United People's Party of the Chittagong Hill Tracts) and its armed wing, the Shanti Bahini over the issue of autonomy and the rights of the indigenous peoples and tribes of the Chittagong Hill Tracts. The Shanti Bahini launched an insurgency against government forces in 1977, and the conflict continued for twenty years until the government and the PCJSS signed the Chittagong Hill Tracts Peace Accord in 1997. At the outbreak of the insurgency, the Government of Bangladesh deployed the army to begin counter-insurgency operations. The then-President of Bangladesh Ziaur Rahman created a Chittagong Hill Tracts Development Board under an army general in order to address the socio-economic needs of the region, but the entity proved unpopular and became a source of antagonism and mistrust amongst the native people against the government. The government failed to address the long-standing issue of the displacement of people, numbering an estimated 100,000 caused by the construction of the Kaptai Dam in 1962.[13] Displaced peoples did not receive compensation and more than 40,000 Chakma tribals had fled to India.[13] In the 1980s, the government began settling Bengalis in the region, causing the eviction of many natives and a significant alteration of demographics. Having constituted only 11.6% of the regional population in 1974, the number of Bengalis grew by 1991 to constitute 48.5% of the regional population.

In 1989, the government of then-president Hossain Mohammad Ershad passed the District Council Act created three tiers of local government councils to devolve powers and responsibilities to the representatives of the native peoples, but the councils were rejected and opposed by .

Contribution to UN Peacekeeping Operations

The Bangladesh Army has been actively involved in a number of United Nations Peace Support Operations (UNPSO) since its formation in the 1970s. Its first deployments came in 1988, when it participated in two operations – UNIIMOG in Iraq and UNTAG in Namibia[3] President HM Ershad initiated these deployments for the first time, starting with the contribution to UNIIMOG in Iraq.

Later, as part of the UNIKOM force deployed to Kuwait and Saudi Arabia following the Gulf War the Bangladesh Army sent a mechanized infantry battalion (approx. 2,193 personnel). Since then, the Bangladesh Army has been involved in up to thirty different UNPKOs in as many as twenty five countries.[4] This has included activities in Angola, Namibia, Cambodia, Somalia, Sudan, Eritrea, Uganda, Rwanda, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Mozambique, former Yugoslavia, Liberia, Haiti, Tajikistan, Western Sahara, Sierra Leone, Kosovo, Georgia, East Timor, Congo, Côte d'Ivoire and Ethiopia.

As a result of its contributions to various UN peacekeeping operations, up to 88 Bangladesh soldiers have lost their lives (as of February 2009).[4] However, the performance of Bangladesh's contingents has been described as being of the "highest order" and the appointment of several senior Bangladesh military officers as the Commander of UN peacekeeping missions and Senior Military Liaison Officers, may be seen as further recognition of the Bangladesh Army's growing esteem in the peacekeeping community.[4]

In January 2004, BBC described the Bangladeshi UN Force as "Cream of UN Peacekeepers".[5] Bangladesh Armed Forces participated in the Gulf war in 1991 Operation Desert Storm alongside other multinational forces under Allied Command. The Bangladesh Army brought in a contingent of Engineers and undertook the task of clearing mines and bombs in Kuwait. This assistance took place under the operational code name "Operation Kuwait Punargathan (OKP)" in English "Operation Rebuilding Kuwait (ORK)".

Chief of Army Staff

General Iqbal Karim Bhuiyan, psc was born on 2 June 1957 in Comilla, Bangladesh. The General joined Bangladesh Military Academy on 19 March 1976 and was commissioned on 30 November 1976 in the Corps of Infantry. He took over as CAS on 25 June 2012.

List of Chiefs of Army Staff

1st General M. A. G. Osmany, Bangabir April 1971 – December 1971
2nd Major General MA Rab,Bir Uttam December 1971 – April 1972
  • Assistant Commander in Chief of Bangladesh Forces led by General M A G Osmany, Commandar in Chief of Bangladesh Armed Forces and Mukti Bahini
  • First Chief of Army Staff of Bangladesh Army
3rd Major General K M Shafiullah,Bir Uttam April 1972 – August 1975
  • sacked
4th Major General Ziaur Rahman, Bir Uttam July 1975 – 1977
5th Lieutenant General Ziaur Rahman, Bir Uttam Jan 1977 – Dec 1977
  • assassinated
6th Lieutenant General Hussain Mohammad Ershad Dec 1978 – Aug 1986
7th Lieutenant General Atiqur Rahman 1 September 1986 – August 1990
8th Lieutenant General Nuruddin Khan November 1990 – June 1994
9th Lieutenant General Abu Saleh Mohammad Nasim, Bir Bikram June 1994 – June 1996 Sacked
10th Lieutenant General Muhammad Mahbubur Rahman May 1996 – December 1997
11th General Mustafizur Rahman, Bir Pratik 24 December 1997 - 23 December 2000
12th Lieutenant General M Harun-Ar-Rashid 24 December 2000 - 16 June 2002
13th Lieutenant General Hasan Mashhud Chowdhury,awc,psc 16 June 2002 - 15 June 2005
14th General Moeen U Ahmed,ndc, psc 15 June 2005 - 15 June 2009
15th General Md Abdul Mubeen,ndc, psc 15 June 2009 - 25 June 2012
16th General Iqbal Karim Bhuiyan,psc 25 June 2012 – Present



At present the Bangladesh Army has Eight regional Infantry Division HQ with twenty five+ Infantry Brigades, seven Armoured regiment,One Armoured Brigade, twenty three+ Artillery Regiments and various divisional support formations deployed throughout the country. It also has the following independent units under direct command of Army Headquarters: 46th & 65th Infantry Brigade, 14th Engineers Brigade, one Para-Commando Brigade, 6th Air Defence Artillery Brigade, one Signals Brigade and three Army Aviation Squadrons.[6] In addition to this, the Army also has a command for Training and Doctrinal policy formulation and conduct, named the Army Training and Doctrine Command (ARTDOC) and a number of training institutions spread all over the country that supplement its combat capability. Capability development and training are managed by each Corps, and as such the Bangladesh Army is divided into the following administrative Corps:

Administrative Branches

Rank structure

Pay Grade 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Title Second
Lieutenant Captain Major Lieutenant
Colonel Brigadier

Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO)

  • Honorary Lieutenant (Hon Lt)
  • Master Warrant Officer (MWO)
  • Senior Warrant Officer (SWO)
  • Warrant Officer (WO)

Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO)

Ordinary Soldier

  • Lance Corporal (L Cpl)
  • Sainik (Snk)


List of Cantonments

  • Majhira Cantonment, Bogra
  • Shahid Salahuddin Cantonment, Ghatail
  • Chittagong Cantonment
  • Moynamoti Cantonment, Comilla
  • Jessore Cantonment
  • Rangpur Cantonment
  • Mymensingh Cantonment
  • Shahid Bir Uttam Mahboob Cantonment, Dinajpur
  • Kholahati Cantonment, Dinajpur
  • Saidpur Cantonment, Nilphamari
  • Jahangirabad Cantonment, Bogra
  • Rajendraput Cantonment, Gazipur
  • Qadirabad Cantonment, Natore
  • Rajshahi Cantonment
  • Jalalabad Cantonment, Sylhet
  • Bangladesh Military Academy, Chittagong
  • Halishahar Cantonment, Chittagong
  • Bandarban Cantonment
  • Khagrachari Cantonment
  • Rangamati Cantonment
  • Dighinala Cantonment, Rangamati
  • Kaptai Cantonment
  • Alikadam Cantonment
  • Ramu Cantonment

Educational and training institutes

  • Bangladesh Military Academy(BMA), Bhatiary, Chittagong
  • School of Infantry and Tactics (SI&T), Jalalabad Cantonment, Sylhet.
  • Defence Services Command and Staff College (DSC&S), Mirpur Cantonment, Dhaka.
  • National Defence College (NDC), Mirpur Cantonment, Dhaka.
  • Military Institute of Science & Technology (MIST), Mirpur Cantonment, Dhaka.
  • Armoured Corps Centre & School (ACC&S), Jahangirabad Cantonment, Bogra.
  • Engineer Centre and School of Military Engineering (ECSME), Quadirabad Cantonment, .
  • Signal Training Centre and School (STC&S), Jessore Cantonment, Jessore.
  • Army Service Corps Centre & School (ASCC&S), Jahanabad Cantonment, Khulna.
  • Army Medical Corps Centre & School (AMCC&S), Shaheed Salahuddin Cantonment, Ghatail, Tangail
  • Ordnance Centre & School (OC&S), Rajendrapur Cantonment, Gazipur
  • Bangladesh Institute of Peace Support Operation Training (BIPSOT), Rajendrapur Cantonment, Gazipur.
  • Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Centre and School (EMEC&S), Saidpur Cantonment, Nilphamari.
  • Centre and School of Military Police, Education and Administration (CSMEA), Shahid Salahuddin Cantonment, Ghatail, Tangail.
  • Army School of Physical Training and Sports (ASPTS), Dhaka Cantonment, Dhaka.
  • Army School of Music (ASM), Chittagong Cantonment, Chittagong.
  • Armed Forces Medical College (AFMC), Dhaka Cantonment, Dhaka.
  • Artillery Centre and School (AC&S), Halishahar, Chittagong.
  • School of Military Intelligence (SMI), Comilla Cantonment, Comilla.
  • East Bengal Regimental Centre (EBRC), Chittagong Cantonment, Chittagong.
  • Bangladesh Infantry Regimental Centre (BIRC), Rajshahi Cantonment, Rajshahi.
  • Non Commissioned Officers Academy (NCOA), Jahangirabad Cantonment, Bogra.
  • Bangladesh University Of Professionals (BUP), Mirpur Cantonment, Dhaka.
  • Bangladesh National Cadet Corps (BNCC), Dhaka Cantonment, Dhaka.

Para-military forces

See also



  • Barthorp, Michael. 1979. Indian Infantry Regiments, 1860–1914. Osprey Publishing. ISBN 978-0-85045-307-2
  • Momen, Nurul. 2006. "Bangladesh-UN Partnership". The Daily Star. 19 February 2006. Retrieved 2 February 2009 from: The Daily Star Online Edition

External links

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.