Defence Evaluates Security & Related Developments in the Peninsula
[Updated :: 2010-05-01 18:05:46
SECRETARY Defence Mr Gotabaya Rajapaksa with a view to evaluating
post-war security concerns and other related developments after
meeting officers and soldiers, flew to Jaffna Thursday (29) and
took part in a series of important projects and interactive discussions
with Tri-service and Police authorities.
Mr Rajapaksa on arrival at Palaly along with Chief of Defence Staff
and Air Force Commander Air Chief Marshal Roshan Goonatileke, Navy
Commander Vice Admiral Thisara Samarasinghe and Inspector General
of Police Mahinda Balasuriya was warmly received by Lieutenant General
Jagath Jayasuriya, Commander of the Army who had earlier flown there.
On his reaching the Security Forces Headquarters, Jaffna (SFHQ-J)
Mr Rajapaksa was welcomed to a Guard of Honour, accorded by SFHQ-J
soldiers before he was conducted to the SFHQ-J auditorium.
Major General Mahinda Hathurusinghe, Commander, Security Forces,
Jaffna during a short but an elaborate presentation, outlined the
status quo regarding Jaffna’s security network and developments
in place to the visiting defence hierarchy. Deliberations centered
largely on post-war concerns, resettlement, de-mining work, civil
administrative apparatus, progress on rehabilitation of former LTTE
combatants, promotion of civil-military relations, etc.
As the second leg of the day’s itinerary, Mr Rajapaksa along with
the visiting service chiefs and the IGP arrived at the Northern
Naval Command Headquarters (Com-North) where he was received by
the visiting Navy Chief and the Commander, (Com-North), Rear Admiral
S.M.B Weerasekara. The visiting Secretary Defence afterwards received
a briefing on the naval security blanket in place in the whole of
the Jaffna seas surrounding the peninsula.
In what could be considered another major achievement on the road
to recovery, Mr Rajapaksa had the honour of ceremonially opening
the completely rehabilitated and renovated dockyard at Kankesanthurai
harbour which had for over twenty-five years remained abandoned
due to LTTE terrorism. Opening of this dockyard again on Thursday
(29) would enable the port hereafter to carry out all repairs to
the vessels directly without towing them to Trincomalee as before.
The next stop for the visiting defence team was the newly-opened
Jaffna Civil Affairs Coordinating Office which has turned out to
be the very effective and useful link between the military and the
denizens of the north. On a concept mooted by Commander of the Army
Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya, this 24-hour manned office
was ceremonially opened recently by the Army Chief himself and it
has now gained overwhelming popularity.
The visiting defence officials later on had a different experience
when they visited the Jaffna Fort of historic significance. In the
company of the Army Commander and visiting officials, Secretary
Defence strolled along the Fort and saw for himself the repairs
and other renovations, needed to be done in the near future. Lieutenant
General Jayasuriya recalled yesteryear memories and military engagements
and responded to Mr Rajapaksa’s queries and inquiries. Minutes after
that the visiting Secretary Defence met a cross section of officers
and other ranks inside the Jaffna Fort itself for tea and refreshments.
During the break, Secretary Defence in the company of Lieutenant
General Jayasuriya interacted with soldiers and officers serving
under 51 Division and made inquiries into their well-being.
Later on, the Secretary Defence and the team paid a visit to the
sacred Nagadeepa Viharaya, sanctified by the arrival of Lord Buddha
and made offerings to it. Mr Rajapaksa shared views with the chief
incumbent at the temple and offered him Atapirikara as a token of
his reverence and goodwill.