- Military of Sri Lanka
The Military of
Sri Lankaconsists of Three Branches which are the Army, Navy, Air Force which comes under the Ministry of Defence. It grew from a ceremonial force after the independence from the British Empire to a highly trained and highly motivated armed force. The training and sophistication of the Sri Lankan Armed forces is shown through its hard battles fought against one of the deadliest armed groups in the world, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(see list) which is classified as a terrorist organisationby 32 countries. The military of Sri Lanka has taken part in many wars throughout its history, including the Second Boer Warand both World Wars(under the command of the British). Since independence, however, its primary missions have been counter-insurgency, targeting armed groups within the country, most notably the LTTEand at one point the former nationalist insurgent group, the JVP.
The posture of the military has been defensive due to the nature of the strategic threats to Sri Lanka. In the short-term, internal security is considered the main threat to the nation's future. In the long-term, the threat is seen as primarily external from current and future
superpowersin their rival quests for dominance of the Indian Ocean; at one point these were the United States of Americaand the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. However, due to collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the external threats now involve future superpowers Indiaand China. The signing of the Indo-Sri Lanka Peace Accordeased these concerns. [ [http://lcweb2.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?frd/cstdy:@field(DOCID+lk0155) Sri Lanka, PRIMARY THREATS TO NATIONAL SECURITY] ]
head of state, the President of Sri Lanka, is nominally the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. Due to consecrative Presidents retaining the portfolio of Minister of Defence, executive authority is retained by the President when he/she is the minister of defence. The Ministry of Defence is the highest level of military headquarters charged with formulating, executing defence policy and procurements for the Armed Forces; it is mostly staffed by civilians.
Operational and defence policy decisions are taken by the National Defence Council
The Sri Lanka Army is the oldest and largest of Sri Lanka's three armed services. Established as the Royal Ceylon Army in 1949, it was renamed when Sri Lanka became a republic in 1972. The Army of approximately 150,000 regular personnel and including 15,000 National Guardsmen is organized into 22 regiments and is responsible for overseeing land-based military and humanitarian operations. It is a completely voluntary service, the
military drafthaving never been imposed in Sri Lanka.In 2004 the Sri Lankan Army took part in the United Nations peacekeeping operations in Haiti.
The Sri Lankan Navy is the key maritime division of the Sri Lankan Armed Forces and is classed as the most vital defence force of Sri Lanka. It conducts maritime operations at sea for the defence of the Sri Lankan nation and its interests. The professional head of the navy is the Commander of the navy, who exercises his command from the Naval Headquarters in
Colombo. Established in 1950 as the Royal Ceylon Navyit was renamed as the Sri Lanka Navyin 1972.
In recent years it had played a key role it the
Sri Lankan civil war, conducting deep sea, costal & inshore patrols, amphibious and supply operations. The navy has its own elite naval special forcesunit, the Special Boat Squadron.
The Sri Lanka Air Force is the aerial defense division and the youngest of the Sri Lankan Tri Forces. Founded in 1951 as the Royal Ceylon Air Force, it relied on the British Royal Air Force for its earliest equipment, training, and leadership. The Air Force is playing a major role in the ongoing war against Tamil separatists. Although Sri Lanka is only a small island state, its Air Force has proven highly capable and efficient. In recent times the air force has expanded to specialize mainly in providing air-support to ground forces and landing troops and carrying airstrikes on rebel held areas in the Northern and Eastern provinces.
There are two official Paramilitary Forces under the command of the Ministry of Defence:
Special Task Forcecomes under the control of the Sri Lanka Policewhich in turn is under the command of the Ministry of Defence. It undertakes counter-terroristoperations and VIP protection. [ [http://www.police.lk/divisions/stf.aspSpecial Task Force, Sri Lanka Police Service] ]
* The Sri Lanka Civil Defence Force, which is under direct command of the Ministry of Defence. [ [http://www.defence.lk/main_abt.asp?fname=homeguard Home Guard Service, Ministry of Defence] ] .
See also Paramilitary groups of Sri Lanka .
Today the training of all armed services are carried out in Sri Lanka. With a Staff College, a University-level Defense Academy, three Military Academies for the three armed services and many specialized training schools and centers members of the Sri Lanka armed forces has a high level training and professionalism. The Sri Lankan military has received specialized training assistance from other nations such as
Pakistan, Australia, the United Kingdom, Israel, the United States, India, and South Africa. [ [http://lcweb2.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?frd/cstdy:@field(DOCID+lk0155) Sri Lanka, PRIMARY THREATS TO NATIONAL SECURITY] ]
Referring to the overseas military training given to Sri Lanka, the U.S. government's contribution at a higher level. The "Foreign Military Financing (FMF)" and "International Military Education and Training (IMET)" programs helping to standardizing and strengthening the country's military greatly. [cite web|url=http://www.state.gov/t/pm/64481.htm|title=Sri Lanka: Security Assistance|publisher=U.S. Department of State|date=July 12, 2007]
General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University, Colombo
Defence Services Command and Staff College
Sri Lanka Military Academy, Diyatalawa
Naval and Maritime Academy, Trincomalee
*Air Force Academy,
SLAF China Bay, Trincomalee
During the months of December 2005 and January 2006, they military suffered heavy losses due to attacks by the
LTTE. This included the death of 100 Army personnel and injuring another 200. Furthermore, the SLMMrecently filed a report stating the LTTE had violated the ceasefire 3,471 since the signing of the cease fire which included matters like child recruiting, torture, abduction, firing of weapons, sabotage, carrying of arms in government-held areas, construction of new positions, movement of arms, ammunition and military equipment, families of detainees denied access and the obstruction of truce monitors [ [http://www.lankanewspapers.com/news/2006/2/5577.html Geneva talks must focus on SLMM rulings on violations] ] . However the security forces violated the ceasefire only 162 times.
However, the President
Mahinda Rajapaksahas ordered all forces to maintain defensive positions in a bid to avoid war and preserve the current ceasefire, but has warned that this move should not be mistaken for weakness on the part of his government. The United States ambassador to Sri Lanka has warned the that the cost of war would be high for the LTTE. They have said they would continue to assist the government preserve peace by maintaining their military training. India has also given assurances that they will try and make sure resumption of war is also avoided. [ [http://www.hindustantimes.com/news/7598_1597938,000500020002.htm] Dead link|date=March 2008]
Sri Lankan Armydecided to attack the LTTE during April 2006 while claiming the ceasefire was still in place, following a suicide bomb attack on the Commander of the Army Lieutenant General Sarath Fonseka. The military claimed that they were attacking the rebel positions in the east because the LTTE closed the sluice gates of the Mavil Aru reservoir on July 21 and cut the water supply to 15,000 villages in government controlled areas. The military was successful in taking the Eastern from LTTE. This was followed by several other successful military operations in the eastern province during 2007.
3 January 2008the government informed Norway of its decision to quit the ceasefire, with it the ceasefire is due to officially end on the 16 January 2008. Along with the ceasefire is due to end the operations of the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission(SLMM). [ [http://www.defence.lk/new.asp?fname=20080104_02 CFA, SLMM cease to operate by Jan 16, Defence.lk] ]
;Creation of a Coast GuardDespite being an
islandand having a substantial length of coastline, Sri Lanka does not have a Coast Guard, relying on the Sri Lanka Navyto carry out such duties. However, discussions are underway with respect to establishing a coast guard service. [ [http://www.dailynews.lk/2007/09/11/news15.asp Sri Lanka News | Online edition of Daily News - Lakehouse Newspapers ] ]
Awards & Decorations
The most prestigious decoration is
Parama Weera Vibhushanayawhich is awarded to officers, soldiers, sailors and airmen who have shown individual gallantry in the face of danger and risk their own lives to save the lives of their comrades. The armed forces especially the Army awards campaign medals for soldiers that have taken part in successful, very high-risk operations such as Operation Riviresa.
Ministry of Defence (Sri Lanka)
Sri Lankan Civil War
* [http://www.defence.lk Ministry of Defence, Public Security, Law & Order - Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka]
* [http://www.priu.gov.lk The official web site of the Government of Sri Lanka]
* [http://www.army.lk Sri Lanka Army]
* [http://www.navy.lk Sri Lanka Navy]
* [http://www.airforce.lk Sri Lanka Air Force]
* [http://www.kda.lk/ General Sir John Kotelawala Defence Academy]
* [http://www.nationalsecurity.lk Media Center for National Security]
* [http://www.lankamission.org The Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the United Nations Office at Geneva ]
* [http://lcweb2.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?frd/cstdy:@field(DOCID+lk0155) Library of Congress]
* [http://lcweb2.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?frd/cstdy:@field(DOCID+lk0172) Library of Congress Foreign Military Relations]
* [http://www.peaceinsrilanka.org/peace2005/Insidepage/AtaGlance/Ceasefire_Feb-Dec2005.asp Peace in Sri Lanka]
* [http://www.janes.com/defence/news/jdw/jdw060817_1_n.shtml Full-scale fighting flares in Sri Lanka] Extract from article about recent fighting, August 2006
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