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"Terrorism should be crushed from all fronts", says Secretary Defence

(January 01, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) Today's soldiers, sailors and airmen are required to be competent in a broad array of war fighting tasks. We have to confront terrorism with force to crush it, and crush it forever. Terrorism has to be confronted with military force at every level. We owe it to our future generations to combat terrorism in all its forms and to defeat it convincingly", said Secretary Defence Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa during the address delivered at the 2nd convocation ceremony of the Batalanda Defence Services Command and Staff College, on Tuesday (Dec 30).

"As a country we were bold enough to do that. We have not won the war yet, the battle is not over, but we are winning", he further asserted.

Fifty eight senior officers from Armed Forces and Police, obtained their psc (Passed Staff College) degree in a grand ceremony held at the DSCSC.

37 officers from the Sri Lanka Army, 8 officers from the Sri Lanka Navy, 12 officers from the Sri Lanka Air Force and one officer from the Police Department who successfully completed the course here and abroad received their parchments from the Secretary Defence Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the Chief Guest of the ceremony.

This is the second convocation of the institution after it was elevated to the status of DSCSC in January 2007.

Following are excerpts of the speech delivered by the Secretary Defence at the DSCSC on Tuesday.
First of all, let me thank the Commandant and the staff of the Defence Services Command and Staff College for inviting me as the chief guest of the graduation ceremony today. I would also like to compliment the staff and the student officers for completing another successful course.

I am sure, all officers graduating today have now acquired a deep insight into the deployment of armed forces in tactical operations. You will be able to confidently handle all operational and administrative staff functions in the formations. You may also have cultivated an interest in broadening your vision, professional foundation and outlook. These are ingredients necessary for you to be an operational leader.

The time has come for us to develop effective leaders for the on-going battle against terrorism. The importance of military leadership at all levels remains at a high level. In order to win in a counter terrorism environment, bold leadership is an essential quality that all leaders should possess.

Dynamic leadership at every level, from sergeant to general, is imperative. Combat in counter terrorism is frequently a small-unit leader's fight; however, commanders' actions at battalion, brigade and division levels remain very critical. Senior leaders, therefore, set the conditions and the tone for all actions by their subordinates.

Today's soldiers, sailors and airmen are required to be competent in a broad array of war fighting tasks. We have to confront terrorism with force to crush it, and crush it forever. Terrorism has to be confronted with military force at every level. We owe it to our future generations to combat terrorism in all its forms and to defeat it convincingly.

Therefore, we have to confront terrorists militarily. We, as a country were bold enough to do that.

We have not won the war yet, the battle is not over, but we are winning.

Our mission was very clear from the very start. No ambiguity whatsoever. We were absolutely clear that our commitment is first and foremost to the national security. This was the right thing to do. It has been fully justified and has the full support of the public. We have the public support, not only for the military, but for our mission as well.

From the very beginning, we knew our mission was achievable. We knew, we could win provided we have a bold political and military leadership, sound plans, adequate manpower and correct equipment.

We knew how to achieve our mission, but in the process, we had to make some sacrifices. But, those sacrifices are worth it. Those sacrifices, ladies and gentlemen, are to save our beloved motherland from total disintegration. Some international speakers talk about terrorism,

The terrorists are exploiting the freedoms and the legal systems and the civil and human rights that Sri Lanka has guaranteed. I strongly believe that a balance must be achieved between the need to uphold human rights and national security considerations.

I am inspired by the buoyant determination, professionalism and extraordinary spirit of our troops. Their morale is high; their sense of mission is strong; their pride palpable and contagious.
Indeed, very often those confronted with the most dangerous task are those most up for it, most resolute.
- Sri Lanka Guardian

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