Army Commander Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake says Sri Lanka Army has fully understood the role and responsibilities in post-war Sri Lanka.
He added that in recent history, Sri Lanka is the one and only country on the world map that has eradicated terrorism from its soil.
Lt. Gen. Senanayake said, “We are a victorious army”.
In an interview with The Hindu, the Army chief said that once the combat is over, it is the responsibility of the army itself to understand its role and task.
“The last nine years were very critical to understand what happened 30 years ago. What must this government and army do to ensure that we don’t go back to the roots of the conflict that began 30 years ago? We have to find a mechanism, a commitment within the country to satisfy our own people more than the people outside. Today, we are closer to a better solution. Democracy was restored, elections were held [in 2015], good governance was brought in”, he said.
The Army Commander said, “In this context, we are right-sizing and building a capacity-based army. We have to give back to the people by right-sizing and ensuring that the war will not recur. We are engaging with the people in the north and east to identify our responsibility. The 30 years of war were brutal, many lives were lost on both sides. This is a sort of testing period for us”.
“On April 13, we released 683 acres in Palaly, a critical area. It was a very bold decision as far as the Sri Lankan armed forces are concerned and we took it. We calculated the risk, nobody pressured us. Frankly, even the government or the political leadership did not know that we were going to release land there”, he disclosed.
“In another four to five months, we will return more land. We have identified some private land on which armed forces are stationed. We cannot compromise on national security. For that reason, we have to have some troops in those areas, and we are shifting them to state land. I need some finances for us to resettle”, Lt. Gen. Senanayake added.