Girl friend in military team ?
Are girl friends allowed as part of military delegations to international
seminars and conferences ?

At least one three star man, who had been at the centre of many a controversy over sex and sensation, has succeeded in taking along his newly acquired girl friend along for a seminar in a distant part of the globe. Appropriate enough, the event deals with matters relating to management.

If the man has managed to obtain a ticket for her from personal funds, he has also succeeded in finding her accommodation in his own hotel room.

Other three star types were unceremoniously booted out for making overtures (said to be crude) to the fairer sex.

Here is a case of a girl friend joining a national team unofficially.

If unchecked, it would undoubtedly become a precedent for others. Join a military delegation to represent Sri Lanka abroad and take your own girl friend.

It seems disciplinary standards apply differently to different people.

More cars than gunboats

The Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy Vice Admiral Daya Sandagiri, has twice the amount of vehicles than the Navy has Gun Boats at sea - a total of 22 cars, Double Cabs and vans as against 11 Gun Boats deployed mostly in the North and East.
Here is the catalogue:

CARS: Four Mercedes Benz out of which two are bullet proof. A Peugeot 405, a Ford Grenada, a Toyota Vista and three Mitsubishi Lancers.

DOUBLE CABS: Two Isuzu four wheel drives, one Toyota Hilux four wheel drive, a Mitsubishi L 200 four wheel drive and a Nissan four wheel drive.

JEEPS: Three Range Rovers, two of which are bullet proof, Two Land Rover Defender Jeeps with turbo engines and a Mitsubishi Pajero (whose engine was modified to turbo at a cost of over Rs. 600,000).

VANS: A Nissan Caravan.

In addition, one of 20 Mitsubishi Lancers, hired from a private company for use by senior officers at a cost of Rs 39,500 each, has also been commissioned for the Commander.

Whilst this being the case, Vice Admiral Sandagiri wrote to then Secretary to Ministry of Defence, on February 12, 2001, a letter titled "PROCUREMENT OF CAR FOR COMMANDER OF THE NAVY." This is what the letter said:

"Reference Public Administration circular 22/99 (1) dated 15th June 2000.

"The Commander of the Navy's car was transferred to former Commander of the Navy with the approval of Secretary/Defence.

In view of above there is no suitable car available at present for the present Commander of the Navy's use.

"Therefore to keep uniformity among service Commanders it is requested that approval be given to invite quotations from reputed car suppliers for a purchase of a Diesel Car with engine capacity of 2200 cc.

"Request early approval please."

Ministry of Defence approval was granted.

Vice Admiral Sandagiri imported a brand new Mercedes Benz worth Rs 8.9 million.

His contention that the " Commander of the Navy's car was transferred to the former Commander of the Navy with the approval of the Secretary/Defence" and hence "there is no suitable car available" turned out to be palpable, deliberate lies.

The former Commander of the Navy, Admiral Cecil Tissera, who retired on December 31, 2000, could not purchase his official vehicle, a Mercedes Benz. He was short of two months to qualify for such an entitlement. Hence, the vehicle which had only run 600 kilometres at that time, still remains with the Commander of the Navy.

This fact was known even before Vice Admiral Sandagiri wrote to the Defence Ministry (on February 12, 2001) claiming that purported approval was granted to the former Commander and asserted that he had taken the vehicle away.

Tiger guerrillas have been successful in sustaining a 19 year long high intensity war against the security forces only because they were able to smuggle in loads of weaponry due to a weaker Navy.

In the recent years, the Navy was declared "the front line of defence" and billions of rupees, or millions of dollars, were poured in for procurements.

It is clear not all the moneys have gone in to strengthen the security of a nation at sea. Luxury and comfort on land has taken priority.

Little wonder some Navy top rungers still complain that there are no checks and balances. Some bureaucrats, who have earned the sobriquet of "No Star Generals," tasked with ensuring this sacred responsibility and their spouses, were among those lavishly entertained in the Navy's holiday bungalows, particularly in Trincomalee. Even the finest lobsters, crabs and prawns were being delivered to their doorstep.

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