Mahinda pledges to safeguard country

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa is pledging that his government will ensure the threat to “our national sovereignty and national security” will be countered.

Rajapaksa who was the chief guest today Dec 13, at the graduation ceremony of the Defense Services Command and Staff College in Colombo, said that the Easter Sunday attacks “was the deadliest terrorist attack on civilian targets to take place anywhere in Asia. Even though this is a small country, the challenges that we have had to face are not small at all,” the former President said.

He recalled that it was under his leadership that the state defeated the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. “In the late 1980s Sri Lanka was the most intense scene of conflict in the world, with violent uprisings in the north as well as the south. Then we had the world’s deadliest terrorists with the capacity to carry out full scale ground operations and attacks by sea and air as well,” he said.

The current threat he said “will have to be contained not only for Sri Lanka’s sake but for the well-being of all other nations in the region. This year, India went on alert on at least two occasions due to information that Islamic terrorists from Sri Lanka were trying to enter India by boat.”

He also said that unlike the war against the LTTE this new threat at this stage requires mainly intelligence operations. “Unfortunately over the past five years, the intelligence services were rendered completely inoperative. Members of the intelligence services were persecuted, harassed, and jailed by the previous government on false charges. It was not just the intelligence services that had to face this situation. The entire high command of the armed forces during the war against the LTTE was brought before the police with a great deal of media publicity to answer to all kinds of allegations,” he charged.

“No government of any country in the world has humiliated its own armed forces in this manner. The armed forces are the protectors of the nation. The change of government of January 2015 was almost as if a hostile foreign force had invaded and taken over Sri Lanka.” He accused the former government of harassing the armed forces and intimidating the Maha Sangha and to cow the majority community into submission.

“All of you are aware of the manner in which the previous government went to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva and co-sponsored a resolution against Sri Lanka, pledging among other things to institute war crimes trials against members of the armed forces with the participation of foreign judges and prosecutors. That was done by a Sri Lankan government elected by the people. Today, the people of this country have elected a President with an overwhelming mandate, to rectify the injustices of the past five years.”

“I take this opportunity to pledge before the armed forces of Sri Lanka that the humiliation and injustices that they were subject to over the past five years will be rectified and restitution provided where necessary. Initiatives will be taken at the international level to restore to our armed forces, the respect and dignity they deserve. We all know that there are various agendas at the international level operational with regard to our armed forces. There are instances where certain foreign parties objected to promotions made within our armed forces. No sovereign country will allow such foreign interference in the internal affairs of its armed forces.”

“We have been elected to power to safeguard the national sovereignty and national security of Sri Lanka and we will do whatever it takes to achieve that objective. Overcoming the challenge that we were confronted with in the form of the LTTE required military hardware and pitched battles with a terrorist army. The new situation that we are faced with requires intelligence operations, cooperation with international intelligence agencies and certain strategic foreign policy initiatives.”

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