Recapitulating all what the Army has been doing since he took office after humanitarian operations brought about the culmination of terrorism, the Commander of the Army Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya on Tuesday (17) spelt out the series of progressive projects that had so far been undertaken and successfully performed.
Talking to all the top-level senior officers, including the Chief of Staff, Principal Staff Officers, Commanders of Security Forces Headquarters, Division Commanders and Brigade Commanders under one roof at the Army Headquarters, Lieutenant General Jayasuriya pointed out that the transformation of the wartime Army to be the peacetime Army remained the most daunting challenge because the workload entrusted to the Army saw no decline, although the warfare came to an end. In fact, our task was to revert the Army to be called the “Gentlemen’s Army” as per the wishes of HE the President. We all have effectively met with that challenge and proved ours is an organization that could meet with any challenge, Lieutenant General Jayasuriya underlined.
Giving a brief account on various Army projects, like ‘Abimansala’, construction of new administrative buildings, holiday bungalows, etc enabling all the next of kin of fallen War Heroes to use those facilities, the Commander told the gathering that China’s pledge to build a modern and spacious auditorium at Diyatalawa Sri Lanka Military Academy (SLMA) at the request of the Army, was a remarkable milestone.
He recalled the ever-growing friendly ties with foreign Armies on Army to Army basis and close relations that exist. Those relations are the most recognized during my tenure of office.
On the part of the administration, full freedom has now been given to unit level, regimental level and SFHQ level. Their own decision-making in consultation with me as the Army Chief has helped ground commanders to carry out their legitimate responsibilities in a more effective manner, Lieutenant General Jayasuriya said.
The Army has managed to allocate funds on an equal footing to all formations and to this date, we have managed our budgetary allocations sparingly and very effectively. ‘In fact, the Army cut down a fair amount of money by producing our own coconut scrapers at the rate of Rs 13,000/= each, for example. We thereby saved a lot of money for the government. It is also the case with our exemplary roles in overall development activities. Our troops were able to save millions of rupees for the government by undertaking various development projects at low cost, unlike in the public sector or private contractors.
Touching on the most vital training sphere, the Commander asked all officers to become more professionally qualified by following various courses being offered by academic institutes like the Kothelawala Defence University (KDU). Our chances for such studies were minimal when the battlefield involvements were a priority. Newly established ARTRAC and Buttala Officers Career Development Centre (OCDC) after I took over are two more such academic institutes.
On the same lines of thinking, conduct of Exercise Cormorant Strike, Defence Seminar, visits of foreign military leaders to the Army Headquarters, upgrading and redesigning of many holiday resorts to match with the public demand, etc are among a few of our outstanding achievements in the past few years. More and more such exercises and training programmes are in the pipeline at division levels in the future, the Commander remarked.
‘There were no severe breach of discipline reported among the troops in the past couple of years, a factor that all of us can be happy and proud of. It is you who all made these projects possible and effective with the support you received from your ground troops. We must strive hard to sustain that record,’ the Commander quipped.
Unlike some of the former Commanders, who have had different agendas I always listen to everyone irrespective of their ranks who comes to me. I used to listen to their viewpoints and be sensitive to their pulses. ‘I am always approachable,’ the Commander added.
The government is extremely happy on our roles and tasks and we should still work harder and do our utmost to the country and its prosperity. ‘I do not want to say that ‘I’ did all that, instead it is ‘We’ who did all those for the sake of the country, the Commander concluded.