07th December 2016 17:00:44 Hours
Lieutenant General Crishanthe De Silva, Commander of the Army this morning (7) addressed the Defence Services Command and Staff College (DSCSC)-organized annual symposium, themed ‘Evolution of the Role of the Land Forces and Ensuing Challenges’ at the DSCSC in Sapugaskanda.
A brief welcome by the Deputy Commandant, Brigadier A.M.R Dharmasiri, representing Major General Udaya Perera, DSCSC Commandant, opened the floor for the Commander to make his speech.
Lieutenant General Crishanthe De Silva, in his elaborate speech spelt out how the need for assembly of a land force came into being and how it subsequently got into shape, necessitating those formations to acquire arms and ammunition as fighting armies. He equally touched on historical perspectives, battlefield innovations, weapon acquirement, mass production of war materials, terrorist threats and attacks, transnational linkages, future trends, etc.
Some of the excerpts of his speech to the occasion are as follows;
“The Army is the Nation’s means to seize, retain and exploit the opportunities in order to safeguard the national security interests of Sri Lanka. While other military services can impose devastating effects on an adversary, the Army is the key service that can fully enforce the Nation’s will and decisively defeat an enemy on land.”
He added that the Army should be prepared to do more than fight and defeat enemies; we must possess the capability to translate military objectives into peace-building. “The Army must also have the capability and capacity to accomplish assigned missions while confronting increasingly dangerous threats in complex operational environments. The Army continues to hold a special place in the hearts of Sri Lankans through sacrifice and dedicated service, rendered to this nation like the Sri Lanka Navy and Sri Lanka Air Force. Although times and technologies have changed, the fundamental mission of the Sri Lanka Army will have to carry out its tasks as below,” he noted.
“Firstly, the Sri Lanka Army should be able to deter and dissuade potential adversaries by building land fighting capabilities. Secondly, the Army should be able to conduct cross-domain operations synergizing with other sister services.
Thirdly, the Army should be prepared to provide aid to civil authorities when called for preservation of law and order during humanitarian and disaster situations or any other circumstances, including maintenance of essential services and nation-building assignments as appropriate.
Fourthly, the Army should be prepared to participate in the UN peace support operations in consonance with Sri Lanka’s commitment to the prescribed UN mandate. Lastly, it has to be prepared to render assistance to friendly foreign countries if required to do so, especially during Disaster Relief Operations,” he specified.
Lieutenant General Crishanthe De Silva in his address to the symposium further pointed out how the military would look in the future.
“Most conflicts in the future will occur in terms of sub-conventional, unconventional and low-intensity conflicts. This is being observed all around the world. As these changes in warfare being confronted with uncertainty, the role needs to be played by land forces, will be more complex and more in non-traditional in nature. The future of our Army needs to be agile, versatile, modular and should technologically lead to provide more decisive options as the most credible guardians of the nation,” he underlined.
Towards the end of his speech, Brigadier A.M.R Dharmasiri, Deputy Commandant of the DSCSC presented a memento to the day’s main speaker as a token of appreciation for his contribution.
The Commander’s address preceded similar orations, made by the Commanders of the Sri Lanka Navy and Air Force under service commanders’ speech category sessions in the symposium. The seminar is attended by 162 participants, including 36 faculty members. Several military chiefs, including the Chief of Defence Staff are slated to make speeches to the occasion in the next couple of days.