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Historic International Seminar on Army's Success Story Drawing Nearer

Preparations for the international seminar, ‘Defeating Terrorism - The Sri Lanka Experience’ (May 31 - June 2’ 2011) that shares Sri Lanka’s experience on the road to military defeat of the LTTE, the world’s most ruthless terrorist organization, are now being finalized, the Commander of the Army, Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya told a media conference at Army Headquarters Monday (23) evening.

The three-day seminar, first of its kind to be held in Sri Lanka is to be attended by over 300 delegates, including defence chiefs, commanders, several world-renowned experts, professionals, academics and senior military officials.

‘To this date, a total of 42 countries have so far confirmed their participation in the forthcoming three-day seminar at Colombo Galadari Hotel, and many more are expected to respond within next few days’, the Commander added.

Under the guidance of Defence Secretary Mr Gotabaya Rajapaksa and on the instructions of Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya, Commander of the Army, these deliberations will focus on a variety of themes such as ‘Global Terrorism’, ‘Terrorist Trends’, ‘Predominance of both Political and Military Efforts’, ‘Reconciliation’, ‘Threats to National and International Security Concerns’, ‘Nation Building’, ‘Resettlement’, ‘Effective Counter Mechanism’, ‘Prevention of Resurgence of Violence’, ‘Re-evaluation of Traditional Approaches’, etc.

Sri Lanka Army during these sessions will elaborate how it conducted the Humanitarian Operation with all those field Commanders at hand. In specific sessions, they will serve as panelists to respond to any queries or clarifications. ‘Everything is transparent and media is at liberty to meet any of those contributors on the sidelines of the seminar’, the Commander added.

In answer to a query, the Commander opined that elaborate proceedings in the seminar would help dispel most of those ‘hearsay’ being spread by interested parties and there is no need for countering. Adverse comments and certain appeals made by a few international organizations against the seminar have failed to bring about any negative impact on ongoing seminar arrangements, Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya underlined.

Russia has sought participation for six of a delegates, being the highest and more than 25 international media organizations have already confirmed their participation since the sessions are open. While thanking media for its continuing support, the Commander pointed out that the ‘Business Today’ magazine as official rapporteur, has come forward to print a special dossier, documenting all what transpire during the sessions in the seminar.
 
The sessions would contribute to broaden understanding and exchange of knowledge among delegates with relevance to the Sri Lankan perspective, being the first country in the 21st century to have defeated terrorism in the world. The speakers will elaborate on lessons learnt and reasons that led to the military success.

Among those slated to address the sessions where several working groups are expected to present separate papers include Prof G.L Peiris, Minister of External Affairs, Secretary to President, Mr Lalith Weerathunga, Secretary Defence, Mr Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Central Bank Governor Dr Ajith Nivard Cabraal, in addition to other resource personnel. The keynote address during the inaugural session is to be delivered by Mr Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Secretary Defence.

The seminar is to review how the Sri Lankan approach transcended beyond the traditional approach and succeeded in defeating the LTTE with learning from years of fighting an insurgency.

On the sidelines of the main sessions, an exhibition, depicting new technological innovations and potential defence equipment that have been produced by Research and Development section in the Ministry of Defence, and other local producers of warlike items and equipment, is to be held, enabling those innovators to receive an international exposure during these three days. 

The Sri Lankan delegates, composed of war veterans including resource personnel of the Navy and Air Force will enumerate all other contributory factors in its fight against terrorism and the final march to victory.

Contributors to the sessions, themed on ‘Challenges and Prospects of Counter Terrorism’, ‘Evolution of LTTE and International Networking’, ‘Overview of Counter Terrorism in Sri Lanka’, ‘Humanitarian Operations’, ‘Force Multipliers in Counter Terrorism’, ‘Combat Service Support and Evolution of Training’, ‘IDPs Resettlement’, ‘Rehabilitation, Reintegration and De-mining’  include Dr Rohan Gunaratne, Dr  Ahmed S Hasheem, Prof Rajiv Wijesinghe, Dr Malkanthi Hettiarachchi and a host of senior tri-service officers. 

The seminar simultaneously expects to further broaden the horizons in effective counter terrorism strategy, operational and tactical level lessons, evolution of tactical level training, role of Human Rights in counter insurgency operations, rehabilitation of ex-combatants, preventive measures against resurgence of violence, re-evaluation of the traditional model and the Sri Lankan experience.

The online website (www.defseminar.lk) updates progress and detailed seminar arrangements. It will also provide a live webcast during all three days of the seminar.

Several senior Army officers were also present at the press conference to assist media personnel.