28th May 2021 21:03:44 Hours


Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva, Chief of Defence Staff and Commander of the Army in the wake of fast developing adverse weather patterns that could sweep across the Wanni region this evening (2) with the entry of the cyclone 'Burevi ' through the eastern coast and blow across Pulmoddai, Kokilai, Vavuniya and Mannar areas, arrived at the Wanni Security Force HQ (SFHQ-Wanni) in Vavuniya early this morning (2) and alerted the troops to any emergency after reinforcing vulnerable points.

\"It is my bounden duty as Chief of Defence Staff and Commander of the Army to be physically present here in the Wanni and take stock of imminent emergency preparations, would-be repercussions and impact, necessary relief operations, coordination with state agencies and all other essential precautionary and preventive measures in place for safety of our people in this region since it is the armed forces of this country who are used to rise to the occasion whenever the very existence of the country and the people are threatened either in natural disasters or otherwise as true guardians of the nation. Our multi-skilled armed forces are capable of managing with any emergency whatsoever and we have effectively faced all challenges all the time,\" commented Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva this morning (2) while speaking to a gathering of Wanni troops at the SFHQ-Wanni complex.

In close coordination with Disaster Management Centre, District Secretariat and other state agencies, we have now adopted all precautionary measures for the greater benefit of the common masses in the Wanni, along with all necessary machinery, equipment, heavy vehicles and other tools kept at troops ' disposal to meet with any emergency, he added. \"Remember that we are here to protect the lives of the people and ensure security to them, ' he remarked.

On his arrival there, Gemunu Watch troops in a drive-past saluted him at the entrance to the SFHQ-Wanni in keeping with military traditions before the Commander, Security Forces-Wanni, Major General Priyantha Perera warmly welcomed him. Attaching the prioritized importance to the memory of fallen Wanni War Heroes, the day 's Chief Guest made a bee-line to the monument at first, and paid his tribute to their memory, placing a floral wreath. He also on request sat for a couple of group photos afterwards before joining a symbolic planting of a 'Sandalwood ' sapling in the camp compound as a symbol of memory. A few minutes later, during a brief interaction with the Wanni Commander, Commander, Forward Maintenance Area, General Officers Commanding in Divisions, Brigade Commanders, Commandants and other Senior Officers serving the Wanni, the visiting Army Chief received updates from respective areas and discussed relevant issues. He also did not forget to leave a complimentary remark in the visitors ' book at the SFHQ-Wanni and posed for a few group photos with the Wanni Commander, FMA Commander and all General Officers Commanding in Divisions under the SFHQ-Wanni.

Continuing his inspirational and well meaning address to All Ranks among Wanni troops, Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva recalled his intimacy with the whole of the Wanni region as a battle-hardened soldier and pointed out the exclusive importance of the Wanni area as one of the most blessed regions at religious, cultural, ethnic and economic levels where coexistence and reconciliation prevail. He complimented the troops for supporting to maintain this harmony and reconciliation among people of all ethnicity. \"Your Wanni HQ has taken the lead in constructing a total of 654 new houses for the needy in the Wanni and is still engaged in that unique humanitarian gesture. While giving the best of security to the region, you are now a pioneering force working in close coordination with law enforcement authorities to nab smuggling of contraband, illicit drugs and all other anti-social acts and environmental destructions as per the vision of HE the President as set out in his policy manifesto, 'Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour '. These Nation-building tasks have been entrusted to us placing the highest trust in our capabilities, and we all should dedicatedly work for realization of those goals as professionals,\" he stressed.

Elaborating on the latest additions, made available to the organization to make it more modernly attuned and professionally full-pledged one, the Commander of the Army said the most recent establishment of the new Engineering Division for the first time in the Army history, responsible for nation-building tasks, new Drone Regiment for further strengthening of security measures and the proposed raising of five battalions under a novel Agriculture and Livestock Regiment shortly, would take the organization to new heights as guardians of the nation who are among the firsts to respond to the public in any national threat or emergency.

Touching on the spectrum of welfare prospects being improved for the benefit of All Ranks, Retired War Heroes & family members, he told the gathering that a construction of a separate new Army Hospital in Kandy for tri service personnel would shortly facilitate them, retirees and family members further and reminded that another upcoming 15-storied new hospital wing inside the Colombo Army Hospital complex, now nearing completion, would supplement the hospital with all top level medical needs of tri service personnel in future. \"Similarly, plans are afoot to introduce a new set of uniforms that could further promote the Army image in times of social functions, weddings, etc and entering Mess halls,\" he disclosed while reminding them of other welfare projects, being carried out by different wings and the Army Seva Vanitha Unit as well.

Major General Ranjan Premalal, Commander, Forward Maintenance Area (North Central), Major General Vikum Liyanage, General Officer Commanding (GOC), 21 Division, Major General Indrajith Bandara, GOC, 54 Division, Major General Wasantha Abrew, GOC, 56 Division, Major General Samantha Silva, GOC, 62 Division, Brigade Commanders, Commanding Officers, Senior Officers and Other Ranks were associated with the troop address.