Asian military giants to help Sri Lanka
Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa presents a memento to
Pakistan Army Chief General Kayani.
Sri Lanka Air Force Commander, Air Marshal Roshan Goonetileke
presents a memento to Indian Air Chief Air Marshal Naik.
Sri Lanka Army Commander, Lt. General Jagath Jayasuriya welcomes
Pakistan Army Chief General Kayani
It was a significant week for the Sri Lanka's defence forces as two
military chiefs from two friendly countries arrived to strengthen their
longstanding military ties, last week.
Both helped in Sri Lanka's battle against 30-year-old terrorism in
2009. Being military giants both never looked away when Sri Lanka's
military was in need of support.
At a time when the West believed that it was a pipe dream for Sri
Lankan military to defeat the LTTE and when they were trying to halt the
military push to save the LTTE, these two nations silently gave their
fullest help to Sri Lanka's military might to defeat the LTTE.
It was India and Pakistan who stepped in Sri Lanka to enhance the
on-going military bond between them and Sri Lanka.
First to arrive in Sri Lanka was the Indian Air Force Commander Air
Chief Naik on January 17. He was welcomed by the Chief of Defence Staff
and Commander of the Air Force, Air Chief Marshal Roshan Goonetileke at
the SLAF headquarters.
He met President Mahinda Rajapaksa at Temple Trees and also met Prime
Minister D.M. Jayaratne, Minister of External Affairs Prof. G. L. Peiris,
Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, Commanders of Army and Navy.
Being a qualified flying instructor he had visited the Sri Lanka Air
Force Flying Squadrons at Katunayake.
He paid a floral tribute to the soldiers of the Indian Peace Keeping
Force (IPKF), who fought with the LTTE. He visited the IPKF memorial at
Battaramulla on January 17.It was built to honour over 1,000 IPKF
soldiers who were killed during their fight with the LTTE.
While discussing the military affairs between the two countries,
Prime Minister Jayaratne appreciated the Indian support given to Sri
Lanka and said the Government had given priority for development of the
Briefing him on post-conflict development activities in the island
Premier Jayaratne said the Tamils in the North now have fresh hopes and
the Government intended to make their expectations come true.
Discussions were focused on military matters between the two
During the meeting, the Indian Air Force Chief Naik said that India
was very particular about Sri Lanka's safety. He also highlighted the
importance of strengthening bilateral security. Sri Lanka is a country
with natural beauty.
We see how the country moves forward with development goals after
ending the war. Sri Lanka would draw a greater number of foreign
tourists due to her inherited splendour, he said.
The Premier appreciated the assistance extended by India to Sri
While commending the assistance extended by India in strengthening
the defence of Sri Lanka, the Premier was of the view that the two
countries should explore new avenues in the cooperation with regard to
The Premier further said that the people in the North would
experience the benefits of development drives already launched.
Commenting on the Indian Air Force Chief Naik's visit Air Force
Commander Air Marshal Roshan Goonatilake said it was a very successful
visit when both the Air Forces are concerned and it strengthened the
longstanding relationship between the two Air Forces.
"We are longstanding friends and the historical relationship between
the two Air Forces has been strengthened by this visit. I especially
thank the Indian air Force chief for assisting us with the Indian Air
Defence system, which was given free of charge, during the Sri Lanka's
military and humanitarian mission to defeat terrorism.
“Being our neighbouring country Indian Air Force helped Sri Lanka in
different means", he told the Sunday Observer. He said: "We discussed on
further enhancing training of Air Force technicians and air traffic
We also discussed initiating exchange programs where the expertise in
sports and medical fields are concerned and also giving the airmen of
both Air Forces who excel in sports to take part in events. But these
ideas have not been finalised yet. They will be looked into in future".
Commander of the Pakistan Army General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani arrived
in Sri Lanka for a three day visit on January 19. General Kayani and Sri
Lanka's Army Chief Lt. Gen. Jagath Jayasuriya discussed military matters
of mutual and regional interest and possibilities for sharing experience
and strategies in the successful Wanni Humanitarian Operations against
the separatist terrorists.
The meeting also explored avenues of receiving more and more training
opportunities for Sri Lankan officers in Pakistan, in addition to
ongoing training programs.
He met Prime Minister D.M Jayaratne, Secretary Defence Gotabhaya
Rajapaksa, High Commissioner of Pakistan, Chief of Defence Staff and
Commander of Sri Lanka Air Force, Air Chief Marshal Roshan Goonetileke,
and newly appointed Navy Commander Vice Admiral D.W.A.S. Dissanayake
during his visit.
He visited the Defence Services Command and Staff College at
Sapugaskanda, where he was welcomed by Commandant of the College Maj.
Gen. J.C Rambukpotha.
Addressing the student officers he said military ties between Sri
Lanka and Pakistan go back generations and Pakistan would continue its
training programs for Sri Lankan military officers.
Pakistan Army Chief's wife. Begum Zahida Kayani accompanied Sri
Lanka's Army Commander's wife Manjulika Jayasuriya to Ranaviru Sevana
and appreciated the SLA's efforts to rehabilitate disabled war heroes.
Sri Lanka's Army Commander Lt. Gen. Jagath Jayasuriya said they had
discussed on continuing Pakistan's support in military matters. "It is a
significant visit and this is his first visit to Sri Lanka following the
defeat of the LTTE. We discussed the experience that the Sri Lanka Army
gained in defeating terrorism. This visit will further enhance the
relationship between two Armies and continue to support each other in
military matters", he told the Sunday Observer.
"I thanked the Pakistan Army for their support in defeating the LTTE.
Pakistan is a friend in need and also a friend in deed. During Sri
Lanka's battle against terrorism, Pakistan is one country that did not
ignore us. They always stood by us when we needed help. Especially when
we needed material support, Pakistan provided us the necessary military
equipment without delay", the Army Chief Jayasuriya said.
"The training which the Pakistani Army gives us will continue and we
discussed about initiating training in specialized areas. General Kayani
agreed to carry out a study and provide necessary support to commence
such training", Lt. Gen. Jayasuriya said.
"We have Pakistani Army officers who have commenced their training
here recently. Sri Lanka has started extensive courses for international
students to learn how to defeat terrorism. Pakistan Army was the first
to respond and they are now getting training in our military academy",
Army Chief Jayasuriya said an invitation was extended to the Pakistan
Army Commander to participate in the International Seminar on how Sri
Lanka defeated LTTE terrorism, which is scheduled to be held on May 31
to 2nd June in Sri Lanka.