Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Lanka’s war victory betrayed: Army Chief

Army Commander Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya said that the greatest betrayal of Sri Lanka’s war victory was witnessed by the country on Sunday and urged all officers and other ranks to take note of this development.

“We must stand together as one to face such betrayals aimed at tarnishing the image of the Army,” he said.

Addressing the gathering at a ceremony held at Army Headquarters yesterday to hand over letters of appreciation to officers and other ranks for their contribution to the great victory, he said that the Army went forward and achieved victory after defeating all enemy challenges, adding it was not the victory of one individual but a team effort for which blood, sweat and tears were shed. Victory was achieved through self-confidence, discipline and togetherness and an understanding of each other coupled with good management, the Army Chief said.

“Though I really wanted to give this parchment of appreciation to each and everyone of you in view of the invaluable and great service you have rendered, it was not practically possible to gather all of you to one place, and hence, this is given today as a token but each of you will receive it individually from your Security Forces Headquarters, Divisions, Task Forces, Brigades and Units. Even so, treat it as an honour I have personally bestowed on you as a symbol of appreciation,” he said.

“I believe that all members of the Sri Lanka Army deserve the honour of achieving victory after the completion of this great task. Not only the troops at the battle front but the other troops engaged in providing logistics and support during humanitarian operations contributed to the final success, which I myself as Wanni Security Forces Commander witnessed,” he added.

“I was able to lead our troops from the beginning of the Wanni humanitarian operations to its end. The opportunity I got of having been with you even at the decisive moments while looking after the requirements of Divisions, Task Forces, Brigades and Units remains a memorable part of my life.

“As you all know, the most important tasks in these humanitarian operations were executed from the Wanni Security Forces Headquarters. Realizing this, the terrorists tried to retard the operations by attacking the Wanni Security Forces Headquarters but failed.

“We all are the real heirs to the victory achieved during the humanitarian operations by destroying the so-called Eelam. It is essential to refer specially to the political leadership given for this success. This war dragged on for thirty years because we did not get the correct political leadership though we had a well-trained Army with high morale. But President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa had the correct vision and leadership that enabled us to finish off terrorism in a short span of time.

“Earlier when Generals Denzil Kobbekaduwa and Wijeya Wimalarathne conducted the Vadamarachchi Operation, the terrorists were very weak like on this occasion, but due to wavering political leadership that victorious operation was halted. Even talented Army officers were given transfers due to pressure from foreign envoys.

“Army officers and soldiers were killed due to the signing of so-called peace agreements. Sinister forces had done everything possible to stop this humanitarian operation but due to the correct political leadership the country came under one flag,” the Army Commander said.

He emphasized the importance of the Constitution which bestowed legal power with the Commander-in-Chief - the President - to declare war or peace. With the political leadership, the people’s power and the strength of the Army, the entire effort ended in victory, he said.

“Without the correct political leadership we cannot eradicate terrorism. Even at the Army’s 60th anniversary parade, I said that the name of President Mahinda Rajapaksa will be etched in letters of gold in history,” he said.

“I am proud to command a heroic Army consisting of war heroes who eradicated terrorism by destroying the most dreaded terrorist in the world – Prabhakaran - and his fellow terrorists. Foreign powers can learn from Sri Lanka how to defeat a terrorist organization.

“Though there were felicitations on different occasions I personally believe that the entire Army should be felicitated. That is why I felicitate and heartily honour the entire Army in this way. At this moment I remember with great honour and gratitude the brave war heroes who sacrificed their lives, became disabled and those who are still receiving treatment in hospitals. We should never forget them. Their names will be written in gold. I must mention the different projects that have already been launched for the welfare of those war heroes and their families by the Seva Vanitha branch of the Army,” Lieutenant General Jayasuriya said.

“My only determination is to make the Sri Lanka Army the best Army in the world by rigid training and by seeing to their welfare,” he said.

“The war has ended. The responsibility of the Army towards the motherland has not ended. Our responsibility is to protect the freedom achieved, resettle the people who were rescued in the humanitarian operations and help the Government in its development efforts,” he said.

The Army Commander also thanked the Navy, Air Force, Sri Lanka Police and Civil Defence Force, for the support received from them towards achieving the great victory.

“We all must strive to continue the good name achieved by our Army as the best and most disciplined one in the world and I urge all of you to have the necessary courage and energy to perform your responsibilities without any hindrance,” he said.

© Daily Mirror

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