31st August 2018 16:30:35 Hours
Amid reverberating applause and hearty welcome, the curtains were raised this morning (30) at the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall (BMICH) to inaugurate the 8th ‘Colombo Defence Seminar - 2018’ sessions, the annual flagship project of the Sri Lanka Army with a record number of participants from across the globe.
Prior to the opening sessions, comprised of an eye-catching aesthetic feat that showcased the tapestry of rich diversity and rhythmic beauty in Sri Lankan culture and her people, the formal opening ceremonials got underway after arrival of the Chief Guest, Hon. Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremasinghe, flanked by the driving force behind the whole arrangement, Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake, Commander of the Army.
Lighting of the traditional oil lamp by Hon Ranil Wickeramasinghe, Prime Minister, Hon Ruwan Wijewardene, State Minister of Defence, Mr Udaya Seneviratne, Secretary to HE the President, Mr Kapila Waidyaratne, Secretary Defence, Mr Prasad Kariyawasam, Secretary to Foreign Ministry, Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne, Chief of Defence Staff, Air Marshal Kapila Jayampathy, Commander of the Air Force, Mr Pujitha Jayasundara, Inspector General of Police and by the host, Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake, Commander of the Army, opened the floor for the welcome speech of the Commander of the Army and the introductory remarks of the Secretary Defence.
Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake, Commander of the Army extended a hearty welcome to the Chief Guest and all other participants and highlighted the importance of broadening horizons of knowledge on defence and challenges that prevail among all nations across the world.
“This broadened discourse focused on scope of security and its challenges would certainly generate a forum that would stimulate critical thinking and geo-strategic security matters. These carefully articulated themes would analyze emerging threats and disruptions, for which the armed forces are the first to respond in any land. It also provides a platform which could shed light on geo-strategic security concerns,” the Commander of the Army underlined after extending a very warm welcome to all the delegates.
Mr Kapila Waidyaratne, Secretary Defence commended the Army for its excellent arrangements that had gone into the conduct of ‘Colombo Defence Seminar - 2018’ for the 8th consecutive year and commented on how the world is fast changing and the need to be alert all the time to critical global issues that would directly impact the very basic livelihood of the mankind.
“Every day when we wake up we are faced with a variety of issues and different situations of varied nature, blended with different connections. All those changes pose a threat to the existence of mankind. Non state sector actors are occupied with their own issues and we are compelled to move away from traditional challenges to non-traditional settings creating opportunities for highly challenging environments. Geo-political demands, objective of the security and search for prudent solutions are therefore necessary to be given attention. These sessions would serve all participants to go for a vibrant brainstorming through which our horizons of knowledge on contemporary security issues could be worked out”, the Secretary Defence said.
HE the President’s prerecorded message of greetings to the ‘Colombo Defence Seminar - 2018’ was delivered afterwards in which he expressed his best wishes to all the participants and proceedings.
The host of participants and foreign delegates attending the Seminar includes Hon Minister of Defence in Rwanda, General James Kabarebe, High Commissioners, Diplomats, Foreign Envoys, Governors, retired Army Chiefs, Secretaries, Senior Officers, retired Senior Officers and a galaxy of scholars and defence partners.
Hon Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe as the Chief Guest delivered the keynote speech during the inaugural session and underlined the need to continue intellectual interaction of this nature to resolve and identify global issues of defence relevance. (Full text of his speech)