Govt. well geared and focused to face radicalisation, religious extremism and other future threats - Defence Secretary

February 29, 2020

Attributing radicalisation, re-emergence of terrorism, separatism, religious extremism, organised crimes, drug trafficking and internal disturbances like strikes to main challenges, Defence Secretary Maj. Gen. (Retd) Kamal Gunaratne said  the Government was well geared and in full focus to ensure country’s national security.

“Sri Lanka had been successful in countering this kind of radicalisations in the recent past however; the current trend, the politico- religious radicalization that steered the Easter Sunday attack should be the focal point of all concerned elements,” he said adding that the transnational extremism that is in place, definitely has a direct bearing on domestic religious extremism.

Defence Secretary said after 10 years, certain anti-social and anti Sri Lankan elements were in the verge of tarnishing this hard earned peace creating a feeling of mistrust among the ethnic divisions and transnational extremism and terrorism was in the verge of crossing international borders much more rapidly.

Maj. Gen. Gunaratne,  addressing a cross-section of professionals of the Social Media Professional Forum held at the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute in Colombo, recently, said although re-emergence of terrorism was not even a visualize threat in the future, the Government was taking measures to curtail it.

Pro-LTTE elements

“The pro-LTTE elements in the country and abroad, who were trying create issues, will not be able to cause any threat to the stability of Sri Lanka and clashes for separatism could not be anticipated in current Sri Lankan context, which respects equal status for all ethnic, religious and cultural entities,” he said.

Maj.Gen. Gunaratne said certain anti-social and anti-Sri Lankan elements were in the verge of tarnishing the hard earned peace creating a feeling of mistrust among the ethnic divisions and transnational extremism definitely had a direct bearing on domestic religious extremism.

Reiterating religious extremism as another concern in the world today, he said never ending danger caused by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) worldwide including the major cities of New York, Paris, London, New Zealand and even in Sri Lanka were candid examples to prove the elusiveness and capability of the transnational form of radical extremism which creates a greater sense of insecurity around the globe.

Organised crimes

Taking organised crimes into account and how it affects directly and indirectly to all sectors of the society which undermines the linkages between governments and their citizens, he said prompt measures needed to be taken to curb with proper, timely and coherent employment of all national security agencies in the country.

Citing strikes by workers and civil unrests as other issues which causes economic losses he said, those moves shouldn’t be politically motivated agendas by certain interested parties.

Maj.Gen. Gunaratne said absence of a comprehensive national policy on drug abuse had been a major constraint on law enforcement in the country and operation of drugs by convicted drug dealers behind prison cells as another area to be focused.

“However, steps have been taken to curtail such activities and there are certain areas need to tie up in this process,” he said “ we look forward to appear in more joint outlook with better interoperability which can be fit for today’s requirement, one that can compete, deter and win in this increasingly complex security environment”.

Necessity of creative approach

Urging the necessity of a creative approach for initiatives at a significant scale, he said, “only a sustained investment with a disciplined execution would work effectively”.
Maj.Gen. Gunaratne said the Government had integrated military and civil capabilities through ‘Integrated Contingency Planning’ to enable the military to work alongside with civilian first-responders to mitigate the impact of disaster situations, worker strikes and civil unrests and take the lead if necessary.

“Defence Ministry is capable of doing this massive task having reorganized with important stakeholders under the patronage of the President Gotabaya Rajapaksa”, he said.