A training programme for the prospective Defence Attachés/ Counsellors scheduled to assume duties at the Sri Lanka missions overseas was inaugurated on 18th of February 2019 at the BIDTI. Thirty officers selected from the tri forces viz the Army, the Navy and the Air Force have joined the training programme.
Welcoming the invitees and participants, Director General Pamela J. Deen stated that the programme was the first of this nature taking place in Sri Lanka, thus filling the void felt for a long time. While congratulating the participants for being selected, she mentioned that the training envisaged was intensive and would cover all necessary aspect for them to perform duties as Defence Attachés. Further, in view of the responsibilities involved their spouses would be invited to attend the programme appropriately.
Speaking at the inauguration Director General of the Ocean Affairs and Climate Change Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Sashikala Premawardhane, representing the Secretary of the Ministry emphasized the relevance and the importance of the programme. It would enlighten and equip all Defence Attachés prior to their assuming duties overseas.
Demarcating the roles of the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, she mentioned that there was a strong link between the two ministries. Director General Premawardhane gave an overall picture to the audience emphasizing the need of both Ministries to work together for the national interest and national security of the country. She said that the end of the war brought out changes needed and outlook shifts, but the national security and the national interest remain as the focal points.
Main objective of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is to promote, protect and projection of national interest and the prospective Defence Attachés should focus on working closer relations with defense establishments of countries assigned in order to accrue benefit to Sri Lanka. In that exercise they could promote defence dialogue, thematic conferences and seeking to enter into agreements on defence cooperation. Further, she opined a new vista for the selected Defence Attachés to be innovative in thinking while being alert to grasp opportunities to promote domestic and foreign interests.
Director General Staff, Training and Doctrine Major General H.R.N. Fernando representing the Chief of Defence Staff appreciated the initiative taken by the BIDTI in organizing the programme. Brigadier I.G.R.G. Bogodawatta, Coordinator of the training programme and Commander Amila Darmawardhane of the Office of the Chief of Defence Staff were present.