30th August 2019 19:31:31 Hours
The 9th ‘Colombo Defence Seminar - 2019’ at the BMICH, the Sri Lanka Army’s flagship symposium on security developments at national and international level with this year’s thematic focus on ‘Evolving Military Excellence in the Contemporary Security Landscape’ drew to a close this evening (30) after an assortment of world-wide security experts and a gathering of nearly 800 service personnel, distinguished scholars and intellectuals vowed to carry on with the endeavour of finding comprehensive and cohesive strategic and practical solutions to the menace of ‘terrorism’ across the world.
Friday’s (30) valedictory address was delivered by Mr Ravinatha Aryasinha, Secretary to Ministry of Foreign Affairs at the invitation of the Commander of the Army Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva. Mr Aryasinha in his closing remarks in an impressive manner drew parallels between contemporary security challenges, ‘terrorism vs protection of human rights’ and tabled a chain of developments that took place in the country in order to bring normalcy and economic recovery back to fabric of life after Easter attacks.
“In the aftermath of the Easter Sunday attack, the security machinery swiftly jumping into action took all necessary security measures with the support of the communities of all ethnicity by imposing emergency regulations and banning three major Islamic extremist organizations and crippling their funding sources and arresting those aiding and abetting those involved or supporting or financing terrorist networks in accordance with UNSG resolutions. Within a short span, the government was able to dismantle their foreign networks and financing sources to a great extent. A conference of this nature provides a platform for formulating collective policy insights. The global strategy is to fight against terrorism but at the same time protect human rights,” Mr Aryasinha added.
He also commended the Commander of the Army and the organization for conduct of this meticulously-segmented symposium of world-wide experts and think tanks who deliberated on contemporary security challenges and developing threats in his final closing remarks.
This year’s sessions, segmented into nine productive sessions, were identified under the close supervision of the Commander of the Army, Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva, in close coordination with the Army Directorate of Training, headed by Major General Suraj Bangsajayah, Director General Training.
The presence of a diverse assortment of like-minded foreign and local professionals, experts and scholars whose deliberations were incisive, thought-provoking and intellectually valid in relation to contemporary issues laid the foundation for a number of inspiring perspectives and necessary advice to decision-making processes which would in turn help groom a global society, free from terrorism and extremism.
As the curtains were falling, Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva, Commander of the Army after fruitful main nine Seminar sessions and four group syndicate sessions, gave away mementos to all foreign participants as deliberations paved the way for a continuous process of interactive dialogue and deliberations in future too with the intention of further promoting the understanding on those matters of extreme importance.
The inaugural ceremony of the Colombo Defence Seminar on Thursday (29) was dignified by the presence of HE the President Maithripala Sirisena, Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces, Governors, Presidential Advisers, Secretary Defence, Chief of Defence Staff, Commanders of the Army, Navy and Air Force, past Commanders, foreign military chiefs and representative state officials.
After the welcome address of the Commander of the Army on Thursday (29), opening remarks were made by General (Retd) Shantha Kottegoda, Secretary Defence during the inauguration. The keynote address, was delivered by Mr Nitin A. Gokhale, an alumni of the Asia-Pacific Centre for Security Studies in Hawaii and a media entrepreneur, strategic affairs analyst and author of books on military history and insurgencies, setting the tone for a very fruitful and productive dialogue with his enlightening and thoughtful insights.
The series of 20-minute allocated time slots for 13 foreigners and 14 local scholars covered relevant areas in full and dwelt on varying aspects of the thematic subject, giving relevant outputs 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 while agreeing to continue those deliberations for the betterment of mankind.
Prof Amal Jayawardane - Senior Professor, General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University (KDU), Mr H.M.G.S Palihakkara - Former Governor of the Northern Province and Foreign Secretary, Dr Harinda Vidanage - Director, Bandaranaike Centre for International Studies (BCIS) Sri Lanka, Dr Sarala Fernando - Former Ambassador/Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations, Dr Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury - Former Foreign Minister of the Caretaker Government in Bangladesh, Admiral Prof. Jayanath Colombage (Retd) - Director of the Centre for Indo-Lanka Initiatives of the Pathfinder Foundation, A Member of the Advisory Council of ‘Institute of National Security Studies Sri Lanka’, A Guest Professor at Sichuan University and Leshan Normal University in China and an Adjunct Professor at National Institute of South China Sea Studies, Haikou, China, Major General A.N.M Muniruzzaman (Retd) - President, Bangladesh Institute of Peace and Security Studies (BIPSS) and Chairman Global Military Advisory Council on Climate Change (GMACCC), Dr Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan - Distinguished Fellow & Head of the Nuclear and Space Policy Initiative, Observer Research Foundation, Mr Asad Ullah Khan - Research Fellow at the Institute of Strategic Studies, Islamabad, Mr Daniel Gabriel Dinu - Founder and Managing Partner of THE Q AGENCY - a Romanian Private Company with focus on R&D Domain, Colonel Pavel V. Chernishov - Chief of the Group of the Division of the Chief of Electronic Warfare of the Russian Armed Forces, Dr Ahmed Salah Hashim - Associate Professor of Strategic Studies in the Military Studies Programme, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Dr Chulanee Attanayake - Visiting Research Fellow at Institute of South Asian Studies, National University Singapore (ISAS-NUS), Dr Jean-Marc Rickli - Head, Global Risk and Resilience, Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP), Dr Albrecht Schnabel - Head of the Asia-Pacific Unit at the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF), Dr Andreea Stoian Karadeli - Independent Researcher, Dr Shannon A. Brown, Ph.D. - Senior Lecturer, Center for Homeland Defence and Security Department of National Security Affairs Naval Postgraduate School Monterey, California, Major General Aruna Jayasekera - Commander, SF-E, Major General Prabath Dematanpitiya - Commandant, DSCSC, Rear Admiral Ruwan Perera - Commander North Western, Naval Area, Air vice Marshal Prasanna Payoe - Director Training, SLAF, Ms Sharika Cooray - Programme and Policy Analyst - Women's Rights & Gender United Nations Population Fund, Sri Lanka, Mr Indika Perera - Independent Lawyer (Attorney at Law, Visiting Lecturer, University of Kelaniya and Faculty Member Bandaranaike Centre for International Studies (BCIS), Colombo, Mr Nilanthan Nirunthan - Visiting Research Fellow at the Bandaranaike Centre for International Studies (BCIS) and Mr Sanath Chandana de Silva - Lecturer, Department of Strategic Studies at the KDU were among those guest speakers and contributors to all the nine sessions.