December 19, 2020
Military leaders are expected to perform in all spheres possible as they do today, said the Defence Secretary Maj. Gen. Kamal Gunaratne (Retd).
While leading your men and women to safeguard people from any threat, whether it is manmade or natural disaster, the military is also expected to engage in the nation building campaign in keeping with the President’s Vision ‘Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour’ in the drive towards a brighter and prosperous future, he also noted.
The Defence Secretary expressed these remarks while gracing a vibrant Commissioning Ceremony as the Chief Guest, held at the prestigious Sri Lanka Military Academy (SLMA), Diyatalawa today (Dec 19).
The Defence Secretary was received by the Army Commander Lt. Gen. Shavendra Silva and the Commandant SLMA Brig. A K G K U Gnanaratne upon his arrival at the Army's premier seat of learning at the enticing central highland city of Diyatalawa.
A ceremonial Guard of Honour was accorded to the Chief Guest at the 95th SLMA Commissioning Parade in keeping with the parade traditions.
The colourful parade saw the commissioning of 187 officer cadets including one Maldivian officer, Two Zambian officers and 18 lady officers belonging to the officer cadet intakes of 88, 88 Bravo and Lady Intake 18.
Receiving commissioning swords by new officers from the Chief Guest at the passing out parade is one of the momentous events of the SLMA’s year calendar. Young new officers who have achieved merits and excelled overall performances received special awards and ‘Sword of Honour’ from the Chief Guest during the ceremony.
On completion of successful military training, officer cadets are commissioned and passed out in a glamorous military parade with pride in the presence of a distinguished nominee of HE the President and local and foreign dignitaries.
Accordingly, 04 Sri Lankan officer cadets who underwent their basic military training at the Chinese Military Academy, 02 cadets trained at the Indian Military Academy, 09 cadets trained at the Pakistan Military Academy and an officer cadet trained at the Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst, United Kingdom also received their commissioning at the prestigious ceremony today.
Standing at the SLMA premises, which holds the most heroic testimony of all those great military leaders who contributed to eliminate the terrorism, the Defence Secretary said “We are blessed with the most victorious Army in the world which led the national campaign to call an end to the blood thirsty terrorism that ruined the country for almost three decades”.
“The devotion, dedication and commitment of all those brave officers and soldiers who fought courageously against the most ruthless terrorist organization that had ever existed in the world; paved the way in achieving this long awaited wish of all peace-loving Sri Lankans”, he said adding that “I salute those gallant officers and soldiers who relentlessly pursued the nation’s enemy to the desired end”.
Welcoming newly commissioned officers to the ‘Family of Defence’ and particularly to the Sri Lanka Army, the ‘Defenders of the Nation’, Maj. Gen. Gunaratne said, “you all must feel extremely proud to have joined the victorious Sri Lanka Army which had been the pillar behind our success story as Sri Lankans”.
“Remember, it is a very rare opportunity that one can grasp”, he also noted.
Addressing the parents in his speech, the Defence Secretary affirmed that the journey they begin today, will surely take them along a very clear career path which is bestowed with bundles of career benefits in future.
Maj. Gen. Gunaratne also conveyed his heartiest compliments and gratitude to the parents of afresh young men and women, for guiding their children to join the Army while mentioning that they have just taken up their first step by receiving the commission from HE the President and the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces and also mentioned that “Yet, it marks the grand beginning of a career filled with utmost prospects, others can never afford”.
Giving emphasis to the precious lives of men under the purview of a military leader, the Defence Secretary stressed, “You all must protect your men/women in any situation”, adding that “All commanders should first become good leaders who will understand the ‘pulse’ of the soldiers under his command”.
Further, denoting that every soldier under our purview is a son/daughter, husband/wife and a father/mother of somebody, the Defence Secretary stated, “You aren’t vested with power to use them as expendable items” and also instructed to use them in correct time, place and size on your selected course of action for only to achieve legitimate objectives.
Maj. Gen. Gunaratne also urged the new officers to exercise analytical concentration prior to arriving at the most viable and appropriate decisions without running into hasty judgements, during the address by the Chief Guest.
While extending his wishes to the foreign officers trained here, he said “I hope all foreign officer cadets have enjoyed their stay in Sri Lanka amidst the COVID pandemic” and further, he wished safe journeys to their homes”.
He also expressed his heartfelt gratitude to the Acting Chief of Defence Staff and the Army Commander, Vice Chancellor and the Staff of General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University and Commandant SLMA and his staff for their dedicated works towards moulding these young officers to become future military leaders.
The Defence Secretary also laid floral tributes at the SLMA war hero cenotaph and also planted an ironwood tree sapling during the ceremony.
Religious dignitaries including Ven. Maha Sanga, Chairperson Defence Ministry's Seva Vanitha Unit Mrs. Chithrani Gunaratne, President Army Seva Vanitha Unit Sujeewa Nelson, Army’s Chief of Staff, foreign delegates, distinguished invitees, foreign and local officer cadets and their relatives were also present to witness the ceremony.