Published on: December 16, 2023

No one can curtail the sacred duty bestowed upon the Defence Forces to safeguard the sovereignty of the nation

• Fear not to embrace leadership in the face of adversity

– The President at Colours Re-Awarding and Commissioning Parade of Sri Lanka Military Academy, Diyathalawa

President Ranil Wickremesinghe, emphasizing the monumental responsibility borne by the security forces, underscored that protecting the sovereignty of the country is paramount. The President clearly stated that no external interference or restriction shall be tolerated.

President Wickremesinghe, serving as the Chief Guest at the Parade of Cadet Officers during the ceremony of Colours Re-Awarding and Commissioning Parade of Sri Lanka Military Academy, Diyatalawa this morning (16), highlighted the security forces’ role in safeguarding both the people’s sovereignty and the distinctive identity of Sri Lanka. He emphasized that any attempt to act independently based on racism or religion would pose a threat to the Sri Lankan identity.

Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces President Ranil Wickremesinghe, upon his arrival at Diyatalawa Military Academy, was welcomed with pride as military honours were offered in his honour.

The 98th Colours Re-Awarding and Commissioning Parade of Sri Lanka Military Academy Diyatalawa, renowned as the premier officer training institute that has produced esteemed leaders for the nation and the Sri Lanka Army, took place.

During the ceremony, a total of 274 cadets successfully completed their training and were officially appointed to their respective roles. Notably, six cadet officers from foreign countries also underwent training and assumed their duties. President Ranil Wickremesinghe, as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, actively participated in the inspection of the Colours Re-Awarding and Commissioning Parade, where he bestowed the championship award upon the best cadet team and presented a sword to the outstanding cadets.

On October 14, 1972, the distinguished honour of presenting the President’s colours was bestowed for the first time by Mr. William Gopallava, the President at that time. Additionally, on June 20, 1997, another significant presentation occurred when the then President, Mrs. Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, presented the President’s colours to the Sri Lanka Army College, marking a pivotal moment in the institution’s history.

After a span of 25 years, President Ranil Wickremesinghe has once again reinstated the President’s colours for the second time. This act holds immense significance, symbolizing continuity and a commitment to the rich traditions of the Diyatalawa Military Academy.

Following the Colours Re-Awarding and Commissioning Parade, President Ranil Wickremesinghe participated in a group photograph with the passed out cadet officers, capturing the shared moment of achievement and camaraderie. In a symbolic gesture reflecting growth and commitment to environmental sustainability, the President planted a ‘Na’ sapling in the Diyatalawa Military Academy premises.

In his address, President Wickremesinghe expressed his admiration for the Sri Lankan Army, acknowledging its talent and proud history. He underscored the collective responsibility of all individuals joining the army to uphold its esteemed legacy.

Addressing the officers and women present, the President urged them to provide fearless leadership to those under their command. Emphasizing that true leadership emerges during challenging times, he encouraged everyone to dedicate themselves to fulfilling their responsibilities for the betterment of the country.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe further highlighted the prestigious standing of Diyatalawa Military Academy, recognizing it as an institution with an international reputation. Addressing the newly commissioned officers, he acknowledged the significance of completing training in such a distinguished establishment and emphasized that they were now officially joining the Sri Lanka Army.

The President reaffirmed Sri Lanka’s status as a sovereign state, emphasizing the nation’s history of independence since 1948. He underscored that the sovereignty of the country belongs to its people, with governments elected through popular vote. The President emphasized the foundational importance of the Sri Lankan identity, urging all citizens, irrespective of ethnicity Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim, to work collectively to safeguard and preserve the national identity.

Turning his attention to economic matters, President Wickremesinghe stressed the need for increased economic growth in the country. He drew attention to the consequences of a collapsing economy, noting its impact on the overall vitality of the nation. The President emphasized the importance of social progress alongside economic advancement, highlighting the need for equal treatment of all citizens. He called upon each group within society to play a role in protecting this framework, extending the responsibility from the President downwards.

The President emphasized the profound responsibility of the army in safeguarding the sovereignty of the country. He asserted that this duty should remain unquestionable and impervious to any attempts to restrict or compromise it. Simultaneously, the President underscored the importance of protecting the people’s sovereignty and preserving the unique identity of Sri Lanka. He warned against any actions or attempts to fracture the national identity based on racism or religion, emphasizing the potential harm such endeavours could inflict on the essence of Sri Lanka.

Acknowledging the rich history of the Sri Lanka Army, the President highlighted its distinguished position in the establishment of modern armies in Asia. He noted that by the time the Ceylon Infantry was founded in 1881, Sri Lanka had become the fourth nation to establish such a military force. Additionally, he proudly stated that the country’s security forces have actively participated in every significant war throughout history.

President Wickremesinghe directed the newly appointed cadet officers to embrace their responsibility in safeguarding the esteemed reputation of the Sri Lanka Army. He emphasized that their election to leadership positions carries the weight of protecting the army’s honour, urging them to provide fearless leadership during challenging circumstances. The President implored the officers not to neglect their duties, particularly in times of adversity, highlighting the crucial role leadership plays in such moments. He earnestly requested everyone to be mindful of their responsibilities and to diligently fulfil their duties for the greater good of the country.

The event was attended by dignitaries including State Minister for Defence Pramitha Bandara Thennakoon, Secretary of the Ministry of Defence General Kamal Gunaratne (Retired), Chief of Defence Staff General Shavendra Silva, Army Commander Lt. Gen. Vikum Liyanage, Commandant of the Military Academy Major General M.T.I. Mahalekam, senior Army officers, cadets, and a group of guests, including the parents of the cadets.

 

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