02nd January 2018 13:06:09 Hours
Sri Lanka Army Headquarters (AHQ) during a customary ceremony this morning (2) treated the dawn of the New Year 2018 with the reading of the national service pledge and the Commander’s New Year message.
Major General Amal Karunasekara, Chief of Staff as the Chief Guest, representing the Commander of the Army who is out of the country, together with the Deputy Chief of Staff, Major General Dampath Fernando, inaugurated the day’s agenda by hoisting the National flag and the Army flag respectively.
Recital of the National Anthem and the Army song in sequence paved the way for Major General Shavendra Silva, Adjutant General of the Army to read the national service pledge in accordance with state sector policies.
A two-minute silence as is the practice in all Army events, honoured the memory of fallen War Heroes afterwards and the day’s protagonist, Major General Karunasekara took the centre-stage to read out the Commander’s New Year - 2018 message, in which the Commander has set out his vision and the mission for the New Year. (See the full text of the Commander’s message below)
One more segment of the day’s highlights began with the arrival of Chief Guest, accompanied by Deputy Chief of Staff, Adjutant General and a few other Principal Staff Officers to the customary tea table, filled with typical New Year food varieties and other sweetmeats.
Major General Karunasekara during refreshments took time off to speak to All Rankers and shared greetings with them and matters of professional interest.
Here follows the Commander’s Message on the New Year;
At the dawn of the New Year, I wish to extend my greetings and best wishes to all of you who are rendering an unmatched service to the victorious Sri Lanka Army for the sake of safeguarding the country’s unitary status, freedom and sovereignty
Sri Lankans as citizens in a peaceful country with spirits of brotherhood make plans for the New Year with hosts of new expectations. The main responsibility behind the realization of those expectations lies with us, as members of the Sri Lanka Army by being the main driving force behind fulfillment of such expectations. Hence, in addition to the pivotal role of defending the motherland’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, we are committed to be the forerunners in the discharge of all our timely duties without fail in the forthcoming New Year too.
At this moment, I would like to recall cherished memories of all our Army War Heroes who had made the supreme sacrifice, become disabled, sustained injuries and dedicated their labour and time for defence of the motherland throughout the annals of Army history to carve out a better tomorrow for the future generation. If not for them, we would never have been possible to cherish glimpses of hopes for a New Year, endowed with freedom and peace. Therefore, we, as the present generation of the Sri Lanka Army have the colossal responsibility of uninterrupted sustenance of those blossoming aspirations of peace and reconciliation, prevailed largely in those departed souls, expecting a revival of those traits at the expense of their great lives.
In our journey towards realization of those responsibilities, it is important that we all act as a joint force in a productive and efficient manner to reach this sole objective. Likewise, I sincerely believe the Army would be able to foster the reputation the public have towards the organization further in future too, if we continue to work with commitment, determination and honesty while promoting the recognized image of the organization at international level further.
After completion of the 30 - year long operations in 2009, a large segment of officers, lady officers, soldiers and woman soldiers are serving across the country after their enlistment to the Army. All of them are fulfilling a special service for the promotion of the current progress of the Army. The sole objective of everyone who are still in service with experiences in previous operations as well as those who have joined the Army afterward should be directed to protect and inherit the hard-earned freedom and sustainable peace that we have won. Everyone’s dedication for it is needed.
Particularly, the Army as it is today has to forge ahead, based on skills and competence. In this background, it is essential that one-third of the entire Army be dedicated to the defence of the territorial integrity and national security of the country, another one-third for the national development process and the rest for maintenance and administrative roles of the Army.
Similarly, it is worth mentioning here that the entire Army by now has actively remained geared to be hand in hand with that process. HE the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces has already declared the New Year 2018 as the ‘Year for National Production of Foods’. Through this, Sri Lanka is set to march towards a sustainable agricultural development, for which a greater deal of responsibility in this New Year, has been entrusted to us, the members of the Army in reaching out to that national objective.
Specially, Sri Lanka Army even by now is engaged in that national project playing a prominent role, through which Army troops are throwing their distinguished weight to renovate more than 500 tanks and irrigational anicuts under the ‘Sirisara Pivisuma’ project. Likewise, at this moment, I expect all of you to continue with that dedication with utmost honesty and without delay when Sri Lanka is marching towards sustainable agricultural development. Besides, I request all of you to enlighten your family members on the importance of sustainable agricultural development.
In addition to that national task, I am pleased to place on record that the Army without jeopardizing national security and peace, is directly contributing to resettlement of displaced people who had lost their houses and properties during previous military operations and release of lands to legitimate owners at national level.
Not only that we have been actively involved in the government-implemented mechanism of national reconciliation as well as in supply of all relief services to people in times of natural catastrophes and disasters. We on a regular basis keep HE the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces updated on all these assignments as well as matters concerning the country’s national security.
Likewise, HE the President has the fullest confidence in the entire Army, its discipline and timely good offices all the time. All the people in the country also place faith in us in a similar way. It is therefore essential for us to be determined that we continue to sustain the same dignity and respect we have earned from the Head of the State and the people alike in the forthcoming New Year too, considering it to be the objective in the New Year.
At this juncture, I further stress the importance of our commitment to the duties with high standards of discipline and integrity all the time in future too. I wish all of you had enough strength, courage and luck to overcome all obstacles that might spring up in the line of your discharge of duties in high quality with efficiency and undue delay.
While offering best wishes for family members and relatives of all Army and Civil personnel in the organization a prosperous New Year, I take this opportunity to wish all departed war heroes and members of the civil staff who had fulfilled their duties at the expense of their lives for the country’s sustainable peace and security, attain supreme bliss of Nibbana.
Similarly, I wish speedy recovery to all injured war heroes still under rehabilitation, having sustained injuries in the operations and extend my best wishes for the New Year 2018 to all serving Army personnel and members of the civil staff, their sons and daughters and relatives.
As useful and disciplined soldiers of the motherland, I wish all of you had courage and all the luck to continue with your duties with respect and dignity you have had earned in the New Year too.
I wish all of you a victorious and prosperous New Year in the year 2018.