30th August 2021 15:19:39 Hours
His Excellency (HE) the President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces cum the conceptual brainchild behind the erection of the new state-of-the art Defence HQ complex at Sri Jayawardenepura who saw the fruition of the project, called at the Army HQ this morning (3) for the first time at the invitation of the Chief of Defence Staff and Commander of the Army, General Shavendra Silva to be received in a dignified red-carpet welcome, adorned with military salutes.
As the clock struck 10.00 am, the motorcade carrying HE the President, preceded by mounted horse riders entered the Army HQ main entrance as troops in a drive-past Guard Turnout salute greeted the visiting Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, HE the President, attaching due respect to the Head of the State who was making his maiden visit to the Defence HQ complex as the Head of the State.
No sooner than the day's VIP alighted from the vehicle at the main porch, General Shavendra Silva received HE the President warmly and invited him to review the highest military salute, the Guard of Honour, presented by Gajaba Regiment troops, made up of 4 Officers, 96 Other Ranks, President Colours and Regimental Colours squads who had been quarantined for over a month after placing them in a bubble adhering to health procedures. The day’s Chief Guest, Head of the State, flanked by the host, General Shavendra Silva reviewed the parade closely and took the salute from the special dais.
No sooner than the day’s Chief Guest, HE the President took the honours, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa was introduced to the Principal Staff Officers (PSOs) at the Army HQ by General Shavendra Silva before he was invited to sit for a group photograph with Senior Officers as a memory of his visit to the location. Principal Advisor to HE the President, Mr Lalith Weeratunge, Secretary to HE the President, Dr P.B Jayasundara and Secretary Defence, General Kamal Gunaratne (Retd) were among those who joined.
The day’s Chief Guest, a former military stalwart in the prestigious Gajaba Regiment (GR), prior to his retirement many years ago recalling a few of his memorable occasions shared a few thoughts with Senior Officers present there before he moved to attend the next segment of the day’s itinerary in the Army Headquarters. He also left compliments in the visitors’ book.