PRAISING THE ARMED FORCES OF SRI LANKA
Posted on May 27th, 2016

KAMALIKA PIERIS

The armed forces of Sri Lanka have received much praise for their victory in Eelam War IV. Army commander, Lieutenant General Ratnayake observed ‘Armed forces around the world are talking of our victory.’ Foreign military officers who attended the  seminar ‘Defeating terrorism, Sri Lanka experience’ in 2012,  said that Sri Lanka armed forces were among the best in the world considering the strategies they had used in Eelam war IV and the way they handled the humanitarian operation.  The Pakistan media (2013) spoke of ‘Lanka’s amazing low cost war’ noting that   Sri Lanka had only spent USD 5.5 billion between 2006 and 2009 to defeat the LTTE.

Requests came in from abroad for training in the strategies used against the LTTE, including small team operations. Manuals used by the army were translated from Sinhala into English and course material incorporating Eelam war tactics prepared.  Many countries have requested training from us, said the Army Commander.  ‘We have visited many countries and told them our methods of winning. Our officers regularly   take part in various military conferences in the world, and the Sri Lanka army had become a regular invitee for these conferences.  The army was also consulted by local and international civilian and business organizations.

The joint ‘War Gaming centre’ at the Defence Services Command and Staff College, Sapugaskanda provided training   for local and foreign personnel. The 2014 course had 101 middle grade officers from Sri Lanka and 16 from Bangladesh, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Maldives, Nepal, Oman, Pakistan, Rwanda, Senegal and Vietnam. The newspapers carried a photo of this group examining a large map of Vanni west and Gulf of Mannar.  In 2015, there were   participants from Australia, India, Singapore, Sudan and Turkey as well.

There is also the Sri Lanka army field training exercise, ‘Cormorant strike’ from 2000. This is a mock field training exercise designed for joint special operations working as one team. It was conducted at Kokilai in 2015.  It was a mega exercise with commandos and Special Forces of the army, 245 sailors and 140 airmen. There were 53 foreign participants and observers from Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nepal, Pakistan and USA.

The Ministry of Defence has   held an annual Defence seminar from 2001. Participation has increased from 11 countries at the first seminar to 35 in 2013. The first         seminar was to share with the world our expertise what we did and how we succeeded, said the Ministry. The fifth Defence seminar, 2015 was to make the world understand that we are a professional military. It is a disciplined armed force. We discharge our duties professionally and our officers and men are as good as any professional army in the world. 

The military had developed specialized hardware for the war and this hardware was offered for sale to other countries.  The hardware includes modified weapons, bulletproof jackets, security items for bulletproof vehicles and a mini UAV that could be used for monitoring security at public events. The army engineering unit had also manufactured five armored personnel vehicles (buffels) similar to those obtained from abroad.  Nigeria came to Sri Lanka to explore the possibility of buying small fast attack craft from Sri Lanka Navy.

The Sri Lanka navy carried out a strenuous role throughout the thirty year war. It is the only navy that has managed to sustain a sea supply route through hostile territory for almost 20 years. It had somehow managed to keep a sea route from Trincomalee to Kankesanturai open from 1990 to 2009.  To protect a single Trincomalee – Kankesanturai run they had to send several offshore patrol vessels, one fast gun boat, 20 fast attack craft, 22 arrow boats, two inshore patrol craft, one Mi 24 helicopter gunship and one Beach craft. Artillery along the coast was placed on alert to provide gun fire support in case of an attack. The Navy also protected the port of Colombo. They set up navy camps from Panadura to Negombo. Small boat teams prevented LTTE from reopening the supply lines once the LTTE armament ships were sunk.

The navy built its own fast attack craft at Welisara, the ‘arrow’ and ‘wave rider’ boats. They also built their own   version of the Israeli Dvora at Colombo Dockyard. Four variants of the Dvora were produced, known today as the ‘Colombo Class’. Bushmaster guns were fitted to the Dvora by navy engineers, so the navy only had to pay for the guns. After the war, the navy built inshore patrol craft for Sri Lanka coast guards. The navy has also developed local Thalassaemia infusion pumps, costing much less than the imported version.

The navy had impressed the US Navy well before they won the war. In 2008, the US Navy delegation had visited Sri Lanka to see how the Sri Lanka Navy dealt with the LTTE navy, especially their high powered navy boats. The US invited two of Sri Lanka top navy officers, Travis Sinniah and Y.N.Jayaratna to address the US officers abroad.

Sri Lanka Navy is now internationally recognized.  Navy Commander was invited to speak at US Biennial sea power symposium and Langkawi International Maritime Conference, 2009. He said that Sri Lanka navy is the only navy today that has experienced the maritime terrorist threat in every form and learnt it the hard way at the expense of good men. The navy can now fight suicide craft, swarm attacks, semi submersible vessels, and low profile high speed explosives laden craft in fluid jet skis. It can deal with deceptive suicide fishing craft and the suicide underwater saboteur.

In 2010 Vice Admiral Thisara Samarasinghe said ‘Sri Lanka navy is today consulted on sea piracy,  harbor protection and coastal defense.  Personnel from 12 countries, including America, India, Pakistan and Australia were given training in 2012. Sri Lanka Navy stated in 2013 ‘we take credit for maintaining peace in our region. Even during the conflict we did not allow the terrorists to hold world shipping to ransom. We kept our ports safe for maritime trade. The Sri Lanka Navy has held, from 2010, an international maritime conference called ‘Galle dialogue’. It has become an important event in the international maritime conference circuit, with a tremendous increase in participation from foreign countries. Representatives from 39 countries attended in 2014.

Air Marshal Roshan Goonatileke said that the   Sri Lanka’s air force was also now recognized. It had achieved tremendous success by using its limited facilities well.   The Air Tigers were destroyed within two years.  Aircraft were used in ways not tried before.  MiGs were used for the first time in warfare at low level and high speed. The fighter squadron carried out thousand of sorties and executed target killings, notably Thamilchelvam. His hide out was in a built up area, and it was extremely difficult, but the pilots scored direct hits.  They also tried to get Prabhakaran.

There was opposition. The media heavily condemned the purchase of second-hand MiG-27 jet fighters from Ukraine. They said these fighters were not necessary and the authorities were getting a cut on it. Gotabhaya Rajapakse took legal action against the newspaper concerned and refused to settle the matter outside court. The MiG fighters performed precision bombings successfully. None of them failed or crashed under operational conditions unlike previous purchases.

Sri Lanka’s mine clearance programme is considered the most efficient in the world. It has taken the shortest period of time on record. Over 770,000 devices were recovered,  within two years,  from an estimated 6,215 square kilometer of mined land.  Vietnam and Cambodia are still at it. The Sri Lanka army is also   the only army in the world that has cleared landmines without causing any damages to the clearer. Marshal Legacy Institute, USA selected Sri Lanka army sapper D.K.N. Rohan and mine detection dog ‘Spartacus’ as the best mine detection team for 2012.   They said the two had excelled in all aspects of mine clearance.

The local court of inquiry that looked into the charges against the army (2013) said   that the humanitarian operation was conducted strictly in accordance with the policy of ‘zero civilian casualties.’  The army was a well disciplined military force.  It had observed international humanitarian law and the law of war at all stages of the operation. All precautions to avoid civilian casualties were followed and the ‘hostages’ were treated humanely. Sri Lanka College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists held a press briefing in 2012. ‘A special medical team was deployed in the war areas’ they said ‘and this team saw the real situation. We want to tell the world that no war crimes were committed and victims were cared for with utmost compassion by the government. We state that no human rights were violated, no war victim was abandoned during the humanitarian operation.’

‘We are being asked how we created a humane soldier’ said Army Commander Ratnayake. ’ It is not military training. It is our culture. In battle, you see the worst and best sides of a person.  Our soldiers are well balanced. They can fight battles of high intensity and then turn to gently helping the elderly or feeble.’ He concluded ‘I do not think this is possible for the western soldier, our soldiers are unique in that respect.’  This is rare praise for Sri Lanka’s   much maligned Buddhist culture. The soldiers were overwhelmingly Buddhist.

The armed forces did not forget the disabled soldiers. There are two progressive apparel factories, Ranaviru Apparels, run entirely by disabled soldiers at Yakkala and Alawwa. Half of the10 acre block of land at Yakkala was donated by owner Meric Peiris. Ranaviru apparels   provide 60% of the army uniforms and was preparing to enter the international export market. Factory is also producing folding mattresses for the army, and other item like track kits.

The army has also engaged fairly successfully, in rehabilitating LTTE ex-combatants. Their strategies are being used as a model in some other countries. 594 child soldiers aged 12-18 were among those who ran towards the army in 2009. All of them have been through rehabilitation programmes and reunited with their families.

4 Responses to “PRAISING THE ARMED FORCES OF SRI LANKA”

  1. Sarath W Says:

    Why our dumb leaders, the president, the PM and the FM can not see the good deeds done by our gallant forces? Is it because they have to pay back the foreign powers who help them to beat MR?. God help them if they punish our brave soldiers just to please the ungrateful Tamils.

  2. plumblossom Says:

    I have gone and visited the Sampur naval camp which was dismantled by this treacherous government. Trincomalee is extremely strategic due to it being the second largest natural harbour in the world with a submarine canyon which can hide submarines which cannot be detected by radar. The US imperialists want to set up a naval and air base at trincomalee. This is one reason why they are trying to create an eelam. There is oil and gas offshore in the Northern and Eastern provinces. There also minerals in the North and also in the East. 66% of our coastline and our oceans are in the North and the East. This is the reason that the US imperialists want to create an eelam. Our armed forces sacrificed over 35,000 lives and thousands of our brave civilians perished at the hands of the LTTE and prabhakaran to safeguard our independence and our freedom. The US imperialists want a rift between the Sinhala, Tamils and Muslims in order to create this eelam. The treacherous Sirisena, Ranil, CBK and Mangala are busy betraying the country. Historically the Eastern and even the North was part of the Kandyan Kingdom and prior to that the Kingdom of Rajarata. The archaeological and historical evidence is very clear about this. Tamils only settled in the North during Dutch and British times when they were brought over by the Dutch and the British to work on tobacco plantations. Therefore there were no ancient two thousand years of Tamil settlements in the North or anywhere else. However there were invasions from time to time but it was not only the cholas that invaded but pandyas, cheras, kalingas and others as well. So those were invasions only not settlements. So Sri Lanka is one country and we should live in peace with one another now and not create rifts as the US imperialists want so that they can create s separate state or eelam for their own nefarious purposes.

  3. plumblossom Says:

    When treacherous Sirisena, Ranil, CBK and Mangala have betrayed our armed forces by accepting the US resolution and condemned our armed forces as having committed war crimes which actually they never ever committed, what do you expect from those who are subordinate to them? There is no evidence that our armed forces ever even broke any international laws during the last stages of the war. The defence secretary has stated that our armed forces are equal to the terrorist prabhakaran and so we should not commemorate the war heroes day. Quite a number of naval officers are imprisoned by this government with no evidence whatsoever to imprison them just to please the US imperialists, the UK, Canada, Norway, Sweden and India. The naval cordon around the Northern seas have been removed and the Indian fishermen is devastating our marine eco system. Contra brand, illegal immigrants, illegal drugs are pouring in due to there being no naval cordon. Naval camps are being dismantled at an alarming rate in the North and the East. UN representatives are allowed to storm naval camps such as at Trincomalee. Why was the US ambassador even allowed anywhere near Trincomalee. The US wants to set up their naval and air bases in Sri Lanka. That is why they want an eelam. Why are we so concerned about subordinate persons conduct when we should be asking Sirisena, Ranil CBK and Mangala why they are betraying Sri Lanka first? These traitors Sirisena, Ranil, CBK, Mangala should be told in no uncertain terms to stop these treacherous activities against Sri Lanka first before we focus on any subordinates who are working under them.

  4. plumblossom Says:

    Why was the US ambassador invited to this event? The Us ambassador should never ever have been invited to this event. It is the US imperialists who have brought a resolution against Sri Lanka the US resolution and is trying to using totally false accusations concocted up by the LTTE supporters domiciled in Western countries to condemn our war heroes in courts of law using foreign judges, prosecutors, investigators. The treacherous Sirisena, Ranil, CBK and Mangala are the ones who have placed our war heroes in such a perilous situation. The treacherous Sirisena, Ranil, CBK and Mangala are also trying to partition Sri Lanka by way of constitutional changes by providing further powers to the provincial councils inclusive of land, police and fiscal powers. The treacherous Sirisena, ranil, CBK and Mangala are trying to merge the North adn the East to try to create an eelam by stealth. These moves are extremely dangerous to the unitary status of Sri Lanka and should be defeated. Then there is the defence secretary who has equated our ranaviruwoes to the LTTE terrorists such as Prabhakaran and suggested that safeguarding our independence and freedom should not be commemorated. Naval camps in the North and the East are being dismantled rapidly to please the US imperialists, the UK, Norway, Canada, the EU, Sweden, India and the TNA racist separatists. The most strategic naval camp at Sampur was dismantled too. The naval cordon which existed around the Northern seas has been dismantled and Indian fishermen are devastating the Sri Lankan marine eco system by illegally fishing in our waters using illegal fishing methods and large trawlers. Contra brand, illegal immigrants, illegal drugs in the meanwhile are now I am sure easily reaching Sri Lanka after the naval cordon around the Northern seas was dismantled. There are quite a number of naval personnel, army personnel and army intelligence personnel in prison without any evidence whatsoever at the behest of treacherous Sirisena, Ranil. CBK and Mangala to please the US imperialists, the UK, Canada, Norway, Sweden, the EU and India. When Sirsena, Ranil, CBK and Mangala are behaving in such a treacherous what do you expect from those who are subordinate to them?

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