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Secretary Defence Evaluates Security & Related Developments in the Peninsula 
[Updated :: 2010-05-01 18:05:46 Hours]

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.

(Courtesy army.lk)

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