31st August 2018 21:16:29 Hours
The 8th ‘Colombo Defence Seminar - 2018’ (CDS) at BMICH, the Sri Lanka Army’s flagship symposium on the theme, ‘Security in an Era of Global Disruptions’ drew to a close on Friday (31) evening after an assortment of more than 115 world-wide security experts and nearly 800 service personnel, distinguished scholars and intellectuals, articulating their desire to carry on with the endeavour of finding comprehensive and cohesive strategic and practical solutions to matters of security concern.
The presence of a diverse gathering of like-minded foreign and local professionals, experts and scholars whose deliberations were incisive, thought-provoking and intellectually valid in relation to contemporary issues (see separate stories) laid the foundation for many inspiring perspectives and necessary advice to decision-making processes which would in turn help groom a global society, free from violence, disruptions to peace and extremism.
This year’s sessions, segmented into twelve productive sessions, were identified under the close supervision of the Commander of the Army, Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake the heavyweight behind its success in close coordination with the Army Directorate of Training, headed by Major General Aruna Wanniarachchi, Director General Training whose organizing efforts were fully backed by all Army personnel in all the Directorates.
Friday’s (31) valedictory address was delivered by Mr Prasad Kariyawasam, Secretary to Ministry of Foreign Affairs at the invitation of the Commander of the Army during the final closing sessions of the Seminar.
The inaugural ceremony on Thursday (30) was dignified by the presence of 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. Lighting of the traditional oil lamp paved the way for Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake, Commander of the Army, to deliver the welcome speech, followed by introductory remarks of the Secretary Defence. The keynote address was delivered by the Hon Prime Minister at the inaugural session. (see separate story)
Friday’s concluding sessions saw the Commander of the Army give away symbolic tokens of appreciation and goodwill and certificates of participation to main speakers and a representative gathering after the valedictory statement was made by Mr Prasad Kariyawasam, Secretary to Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
In his closing address to the ‘Colombo Defence Seminar - 2018’, Mr Prasad Kariyawasam, Secretary to Ministry of Foreign Affairs urged the participants to remain always vigilant against violent extremism and terrorist organizations world-wide.
After fruitful mainstream seminar sessions and four syndicate Group sessions, the Seminar shed light for a continuous process of interactive deliberations across the world and among 115 foreign delegates and more than 800 local scholars who took part in the deliberations.
The sessions undoubtedly set the tone for a very fruitful and productive dialogue which is rich with enlightening and thoughtful insights. The series of 20-minute allocated time slots for foreign and local scholars covered relevant areas in full and dwelt on varying aspects of the thematic subject, offering inputs by way of describing challenges and dilemmas, root causes, impacts on global governance, legal implications, role of armed forces, education strategies for internal security, public diplomacy, balancing hard power and soft power, empowerment of communities, fourth generation warfare, etc.
On the final day (31), the host of the annual mammoth event, Lieutenant General Senanayake separately appreciated the contribution of all foreign participants on stage. Several of them were keen on calling on the Commander of the Army on the sidelines of the mainstream sessions during both days.
Mr. H.M.G.S Palihakkara, Former Governor of the Northern Province and Foreign Secretary, Dr. Harinda Vidanage, Director, Bandaranaike Centre for International Studies, General Bikram Singh (Retd), Former Chief of Indian Army & Chairman Chiefs of Staff, Prof. Amal Jayawardane, Senior Professor, General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University and Dr. Sarala Fernando, Former Ambassador/Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations presided all five main sessions during both days.
Here is the brief summary of Mr Prasad Kariyawasam’s, valedictory statement at the closing ceremony.
“Present day disruptions are multidimensional, multifaceted and security is the right to live without fear. You have discussed all possible and conceivable aspects of security disruptions during these two days. To add value to your two day long deliberations is indeed a difficult task. In this era of unprecedented global disruptions, it became evident that all homo sapiens several thousand years ago have now become top class technologists, scientists, et al. We need to understand the disruptions in correct perspective. At every level of this human revolution there are disruptions and it has become a norm. Disruptions are in fact a way of life everywhere. As scientists say we have transformed ourselves to an unimaginable extent. Our transformation in this biological sphere has produced unprecedented challenges, and some yet to follow,” he pointed out.
“In the mix of these disruptions, it is a test for us to adopt and adapt while securing the right to live without fear. This Seminar on security manifests fundamentals associated with our security. Putting the disruptions to rest is not that possible, it is a continuous process and unpredictable. I am sure in the past two days you would have endeavoured to seek possible ways and means to find solutions or mitigate such occurrences,” Mr Kariyawasam told the gathering.
“As the Prime Minister said on Thursday (30), global security needs global response. States need to respond by sharing intelligence, training and knowledge wherever relevant. The good rapport and working relationship among security stakeholders locally internationally are keys to success in making future security challenges that are disruptions,” Mr Prasad Kariyawasam concluded.