October 16, 2019
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    Army to host 9th Colombo Defence Seminar Featured

    August 27, 2019

    The Colombo Defence Seminar would be held for the 9th consecutive year on August 29and 30th at the BMICH on the theme ‘Evolving Military Excellence in the Contemporary Security Landscape’.Addressing a media briefing held at the Kingsbury Hotel in Colombo the Commander of the Army Lt. Gen. Shavendra Silva said that the Defence Seminar was an ‘ideal platform’ for the participating countries and Sri Lanka to share their experiences and knowledge.

    This year’s Defence Seminar is expected to attract around 800 foreign and local participants including 13 foreign and 14 local speakers over nine sessions that will cover the sub themes: Contemporary security landscape, Conflict or cooperation, Confronting terrorism, Military modernization and, Military readiness in the contemporary security landscape. The Defence Seminar will also include presentations of the participating experts and comments of the expert panels.

    Briefing the media on the Defence Seminar the Killinochchi Security Force Commander Maj. Gen. G. V. Ravipriya said 81 countries have been invited to attend the Defence Seminar of which 42 countries have already confirmed their participation. “We have received the names of around 85 persons and among them 69 belong to groups, while 3 special speakers have also confirmed their attendance. The confirmations are streaming in and generally it is during the last 72 hours that the last confirmations come in. Therefore, we expect this number to increase in time for the seminar.”

    The Colombo Defence Seminar commenced in 2011 and has since been an annual event in the military calendar. Maj. Gen. Ravipriya said that the Defence Seminar is considered an important event by many countries as it includes security strategists, intellectuals and many defence experts at one venue paving the way for sharing of experiences and knowledge of many participating countries.

    President Maithripala Sirisena will attend the Colombo Defence Seminar as the Chief Guest and the Defence Secretary General (retd) Shantha Kottegoda will make the opening remarks and the former Minister of Constitutional Affairs in the Cabinet of President Nelson Mandela and the serving Director of ‘In Transformation Initiative’ in South Africa will deliver the keynote address. The Commander of the Army Lt. Gen. Shavendra Silva will deliver the welcome address.

    Among the 42 confirmed participating countries are the USA, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Canada, China, France, India, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, UK and Singapore.This year Brazil and Hungary would be participating in the Colombo Defence Seminar for the first time.Meanwhile, the Army Commander noted that as there is no fixed dates for the Defence Seminar, most of the countries have notified Sri Lanka that it is difficult for them to set their dates to attend when planning their calendar for the year. Therefore, the Army has taken a decision to hold the Colombo Defence Seminar on Thursday and Friday of the last week of August.

    The Army Commander Lt. Gen. Silva also responded to media queries regarding the allegations leveled against him by internationally regarding war crimes. “Well, these are mere allegations. These parties leveled allegations against the military when the Mannar mass grave was discovered. Then later, it was proved beyond doubt that the military had nothing to do with the Mannar mass grave. Likewise, I don’t worry about such allegations and I will continue with my work. The President had faith in me and appointed me as the Commander of the Army and I will do my utmost to serve the country and fulfill my responsibility,” he said.

    He was also asked about the allegations leveled by the CID regarding the military not cooperating with the investigations and that the army does not adhere to even court orders making it difficult for the CID to conduct their investigations. “There is no truth to this charge and wherever possible we have rendered our fullest cooperation to the police and the CID. There is no way that the military cannot follow the instructions of the courts. Hence, in every way possible we have and are committed to assist the police in their investigations and we will work with them in security matters concerning the country.”

    However, the Army Commander noted that the priority in his list is to uplift and bring the military intelligence to the level it was during the war. He said that terrorist targets could have been taken and the war could be won due to the efficiency of the military intelligence. Nut, sadly as the military intelligence units had lapses that the Easter Sunday bombings had occurred.

    Therefore, he wowed to build up the military intelligence to its glory days and ensure that such attacks are never repeated in the country. He also assured that the military would work together with the other intelligence units in the country to ensure security and safety. The commander also noted that he has been appointed as the Commander of the Army and is committed to protect all races and religions in this country and would give his utmost efforts to serve every citizen of this nation with equal commitment.

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