Secretary of Defence Delivers Opening Remarks at the Lt Gen D L Kobbekaduwa Annual Memorial Lecture

The Secretary to the Ministry of Defence, Mr. Kapila Waidyaratne P.C delivered the opening remarks at the  Lt Gen D L Kobbekaduwa Annual Memorial Lecture that was held on 8th December 2017 at the Suhurupaya Auditorium in Battaramulla. The Lecture titled " The Life and Times of Lt. Gen Denzil Kobbekaduwa in the Contemporary Context" was delivered by General G H de Silva (Rtd) RWP VSV USP, former Commander of the Sri Lanka Army.

"Mrs. Kobekadduwa and Family, General Gerry De Silva, Commander of the Army, Retired Senior Military Officers, distinguished military officers, ladies and gentlemen.

As Chairman of the Institute of National Security Studies Sri Lanka, we are hosting this Annual Memorial Lecture Series in honour of Lieutenant General Denzil Lakshman Kobbekaduwa, of which the inaugural lecture will be delivered today by General G H de Silva (Rtd.).

INSSSL, as the premier national security think tank, initially proposed hosting this lecture as Gen. Denzil Kobbekaduwa was a military strategist highly respected by the tri-forces. Thus, it was of utmost importance to reflect upon his visionary legacy and strategic depth in forging a military strategy for our country during the war years.

Sri Lanka is a country that successfully eradicated terrorism after suffering under its yoke for nearly thirty years. This victory has to be attributed to all the fallen heroes that sacrificed their lives to ensure an inclusive and lasting peace that we as a nation are privileged to enjoy today. To the general public in attendance, I say, the sentience of this lecture should be appreciation for the great sacrifices of Gen. Kobbekaduwa and all those who fell silent along-side him; for this war took from us the nation’s sons and buried them in the soil.

The aim of this annual forum going forth would be to foster strategic thinking and chart Sri Lanka’s strategic trajectory in the future. As I look out into this esteemed audience, I not only see the comrades and stalwarts of Gen. Kobbekaduwa, rather I see the next generation of the armed forces that can garner a wealth of knowledge from the experiences that will be shared today. The best blood of the land here should be encouraged to follow in the steps of their illustrious predecessors. One such leader was Gen. Kobbekaduwa, who as a military strategist, led some of the most successful military operations in the early battles of the Eelam wars, such as Vadamarachchi Operation and Operation Balavegaya. In light of this, the Sri Lanka of tomorrow should foster the teachings of Gen. Kobbekaduwa and such military strategists alike and impart it to the next generation for the betterment of our country.

As General Gerry de Silva will remind us in a few minutes, Gen. Kobbekaduwa brought people together. He turned them into a community and planted humanity in the hearts of all. This trait is a rare one, especially for a General who commanded several operations in the Eelam wars. Yet, it is also the reason for his tremendous success and why we as a Sri Lankan community, from all walks of life – military and civilian - have gathered here today. Let us commemorate Gen. Kobbekaduwa, his life, his legacy and his patriotism to the nation.

Thank you"