Bangladeshis have, for many years, played an active role in the global community and demonstrated our dedication to fostering peace by partaking in UN peacekeeping missions in some of the most dangerous and conflict-ridden places around the world.
Until recently, Bangladesh was the top most contributor to these missions, with troops numbering over 8,000. At present, we are second, just after Ethiopia.
Our brave men and women in uniform are so diligent in the line of duty that in 2002, Sierra Leone declared Bangla as an official language to show its gratitude to Bangladeshi forces who helped to maintain peace there during an almost decade long civil war.
Now, we have yet another significant achievement to celebrate: For the first time ever, two Bangladeshi female pilots from the Bangladesh Air Force (BAF) are about to be deployed to a UN Peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
And that is not the only first for these two trailblazers -- Flight Lieutenant Nayma Haque and Flight Lieutenant Tamanna-E-Lutfi were also the first ever female combat pilots in our Air Force.
We heartily congratulate these extraordinary women for breaking down barriers and gender stereotypes with their determination, courage, and of course, hard work and aptitude.
Nayma and Tamanna should be role models to the millions of girls in this country who want to follow their dreams and reach their highest potential, while, at the same time, do something good for the world.