A Revamped Defence Posture vital for the survival of Sri Lanka in the turbulent years ahead
Posted on April 28th, 2012

R Chandrasoma

The commonly received wisdom in our country is that our current difficulties are largely due to the want of a ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”fair deal ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…” for the minorities – a ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”political solutionƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ that will assuage the (supposed) hurts and discontents of the non-Sinhala folk living in Sri Lanka. While factually dubious, it is a supposition that has great support among those who find the current political dispensation headstrong in its nationalism and defiant in certain aspects of its foreign policy. It can be argued that all this is a species of political fiction cooked up by forces both external and internal that find our independence inimical to the advancement of their own nefarious agenda. This is beside the point. The brute fact is that with all the will in the world to play safe and avoid conflict, our country will be embroiled in cross-border disputes as the world becomes a messier place. Tensions between races and states will escalate as gobal interdependency rises and living space diminishes. That South Asia will be a place of high drama in the decades ahead is an ineluctable fact. With high probability, conflicts in the region will spill over and make things difficult for us ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…”fact that we must be painfully cognizant of at all times. This is an existential truth that does not depend on the outcome of our concessionary ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”dealsƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ with minorities that live with us in this small Island.

Our chief worry should be the exploitation of internal quarrels by outside forces that seek to destabilize our country through bogus claims of goodwill and charity for the oppressed. Indeed this ploy is now a major source of global instability with earstwhile Imperialists now doing their dirty work in the guise of ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”protectorsƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ of the ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”rightsƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ of those they once despised as untutored natives. With a clear recognition of this basic fact, it is a plain truth that nothing is gained through knee-bending and appeasement. A clever defensive strategy is by far our best option. A nation well armed will not be trifled with ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” this is a maxim that we in Sri Lanka should take to heart. The supposedly invincible Tiger was defeated by the apt use of arms ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” not by the mantrams of fiddling politicians. Likewise, the current difficulties involving a powerful mix of home-grownƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  sepeartists and their international backersƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  (which possibly includes our untrustworthy neighbor to the North) can be ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”defusedƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ not by talk and abnegation but by preparedness of the kind that will deter ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”adventurersƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ both foreign and local.

What is the kind of ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”preparednessƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ we speak of? The mere presence of highly proficient military bases at strategic locationsƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  on the N orth -Eastern coast will be a powerful disinsentive to those external forces seeking to boost the disruptive power of rebellious forces within. It is a plain and well-known fact that the recent collapse of established regimes in the Middle-East and elsewhere is largely due to interventions ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” often brutally disruptiveƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  – by foreign agents and powers. We must be anxiously vigilant on this score ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” any future destabilization of Sri lanka will be through foreign-backed interventions that must cross our shores. It is at this point that our defense posture takes on a heightened importance. As an Island, the seas protect us in vital ways ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” it is our first line of defence and has been so since ancient times. We must go beyond this natural protection ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” indeed, exploit it fully by dominating militarily the waters around us. The bases that are in place must be equipped with missile defences of the most modern kind. Mobile fighting units and Coast-Guard Naval Forces must reach a pitch of efficiency and fire-power that will make covert support of enemies within a foolhardy venture. Even more important is the message this naval-military readiness of of our country sends to enemies and adventurers of all kinds ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” that we are ready for them.

Those disposed to look unkindly at any realistic measures to shore up our military strength will howl with indignation at what they like to call ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”unbridled militarizationƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ of our Buddhist land. The strategy we advocate is directerd at ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”externalƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ enemies ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” would-be disruptors and agitators from across our shores. We do support the ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”demilitarisationƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ of most lands within our shores. A disciplined and efficient police force drawn fom all races should do the tasks ordinarily associated with civil defence. This essential task of ensuring internal security does not call for mighty equipment or specialized training in the use of high-tech weaponry. We can (and must) have great fire-power to repel external enemies while our own people ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” this includes the touchy minorities ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” must be shielded from the kind of militarization that suggests overlordship or conquest. The title of this article refers to a defence ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”postureƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢. This sums up a certain attitude we must adopt with regard to defence and military matters. We are not a fighting people and our stance must be defensive ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” to deter enemies that swarm around us while seeing that civilian life is little affected by our readiness to repel with grest force external meddlers. This twofold strategy is well understood by Mr Gotabaya Rajapakse (The Defence Secretary) and a tribute must be paid to his sagacity on this score.

2 Responses to “A Revamped Defence Posture vital for the survival of Sri Lanka in the turbulent years ahead”

  1. sena Says:

    and where are the resources coming from for this military readiness and its maintenance and upgrades? Is it from the present blue collar driven subsistence economy? Certainly not. As a priority we have to build a value added knowledge based economy to support such a modern army. Unfortunately all indications are it is not happening with wide spread corruption and lawlessness leading to loss of productivity and creativity.
    Regarding maintaining strong defense capabilities, a good starting point that emanate from the war is build up of local technology capabilities within the armed forces. What ever technology know how acquired during the war can be used as a foundation for developing our own technology base. Otherwise regardless of how well armed, we are not going to be a capable force with Libya as a case in point. Actually the technical know how and advances made during the war can also be used to develop civilian technologies and industries thus advancing a value added knowledge based economy. With the current government policy of run away expenditure on developing infrastructure, not knowing whether such facilities will be gainfully utilized, scant attention is given to envelopment of such indigenous technology base.

  2. AnuD Says:

    Prevention is better than cure.

    Training of more soldiers or sailors is a different aspect.

    If the govt continues the present strategy and do not allow any suspicious organization to establish as a clandastine organization in Sri lanka and it they think they won’t be allowed to begin armed insurrections that is it.

    See how people are watched in the USA and even9/11 happened because they became careless.

    The tamils those who want to with draw army from the North and East are the ones who want to reestablish any kind of destructive activities. So, they scream.

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