President Maithripala Sirisena will grace the opening ceremony as the Chief Guest while Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe is scheduled to deliver the keynote address. The Secretary to the Ministry of Defence Mr. Kapila Waidyaratne PC will make the opening remarks.
Chairing the briefing the Commander of the Army Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake, observed that " Our message to this effect has gone worldwide attracting defence partners, strategists, policy-makers, security experts and analysts to this annual forum who are capable of collectively evaluating fast changing global concerns and exploring ways and means of challenging such issues".
This year will be the 8th in the sequence of the international defence conference and organizers expect a participation of 800 participants, including 100 foreign participants. The conference will see 13 foreign and 14 local speakers share their knowledge with the rest during course of the two day sessions. Heads of military of all SAARC countries have also been invited to the conference.
Thematic discussion will be held under 'Demographic Transformation & Implications on Security', 'Technological Disruptions', 'Human-Induced Climate Change' and 'Political Extremism' themes with close focus on 'Human Factors & Homeland Security', 'Global Challenge of Internal Displacement', 'Urban Security in the 21st Century', 'Cyber Conflicts & Future Power', 'Social Media & Authenticity: Global Security Challenges', 'Artificial Intelligence & Autonomous Weapons', 'Role of the Military in Response & Mitigating Strategies (Regional Perspective)', 'Role of the Military in Response & Mitigating Strategies (Global Perspective)', 'Climate Geo - Engineering: Challenges & Opportunities', 'Role Played by Violent Non - State Actors', 'Ideological Polarization', 'Destabilizing the International System', 'Diaspora Communities Amidst & Conflict', 'Technological Creativity: Challenges to Armed Forces', 'Climate Change: Future of Warfare' and 'Leadership in Mitigating Violent Extremism', topics.
According to the communiqu‚ issued by of the organizers, representatives from Afghanistan, Australia, Brazil, Bangladesh, Botswana, Chile, Canada, Egypt, Germany, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Italy, Kenya, Korea, Maldives, Mozambique, Netherland, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Nepal, Philippines, Rwanda, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Spain, Sweden, Sudan, South Sudan, Tanzania, UK, Ukraine, USA, Vietnam, Zambia and Zimbabwe have already confirmed their participation at this year's event.
Last year (2017) more than 800 delegates including 77 experts from 35 countries attended the defence seminar held at the same venue on 28th and 29th August. Deliberations were centered on the theme, 'Countering Violent Extremism: Global Trends'.