20th December 2017 17:29:01 Hours
Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake, Commander of the Army addressing the landmark Mali-bound Combat Convoy Company (CCC) of the Sri Lanka Army at the Sri Lanka Light Infantry (SLLI) Regimental Headquarters in Panagoda this morning (20) remarked that the opportunity Sri Lanka Army had got in Mali would testify to the world that ours is a globally-recognized organization, dedicated for world peace.
“Sri Lanka Army has a history of its overseas troop deployment since 1960's even before I was born. To our credit more than 17000 Army peacekeepers, about 300 Military Observers and Staff Officers have to-date served foreign UN assignments world-wide with the purpose of restoring global peace. In the future we would definitely be able to multiply our numbers in overseas assignments including Mali. I expect all of you proceeding to Mali in a couple of days would serve as a fully-pledged professional Army maintaining strict discipline and dignity of the organization,” the Commander quipped.
The Commander also opined that he would like to get the numbers in Mali increased to be equal to a Brigade in future and show the world that the Sri Lanka Army, like any other Army in the world has the full potential for undertaking any responsibility at international level. “The assignment in Mali is not for any personal gains but for the best interest of the country. This international involvement is also an endorsement that recognizes our professionalism at international level” the Commander underlined.
“Note that we are a different breed of soldiers who can be identified as a special community called ‘Rata Rakina Jathiya’ (RRJ), a new concept defined by me irrespective of ethnic differences”, he added.
Major General Ruwan Kulantunga, Commandant, Defence Services Command and Staff College on behalf of the Colonel of the Regiment, SLLI Major General Amal Karunasekara welcomed the Commander of the Army on arrival at the SLLI Headquarters in Panagoda.
Towards the end of the day’s programme, Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake, Commander of the Army left a few thoughts about this historic mission in the Visitors’ Book before the CCC Commander, Lieutenant Colonel Kalana Amunupure awarded a memento to the day’s Chief Guest.