Published here are extracts from a speech made by Dr Anula Wijesundere as the guest of honour at the inauguration of the annual academic sessions of the Sri Lanka College of Military Medicine on March 13, 2020. It is indeed a great honour and a privilege to be invited as the guest of honour at [...]

Sunday Times 2

As a peace-loving patriot, I salute the nation’s victorious armed forces


Published here are extracts from a speech made by Dr Anula Wijesundere as the guest of honour at the inauguration of the annual academic sessions of the Sri Lanka College of Military Medicine on March 13, 2020.

It is indeed a great honour and a privilege to be invited as the guest of honour at the 4th annual academic sessions of Sri Lanka College of Military Medicine.

Dr Wijesundere delivering her speech

As a peace-loving and patriotic citizen of Sri Lanka, I will utilise this unique opportunity to express the eternal gratitude of all peace-loving Sri Lankans, to our Armed Forces who liberated our nation from the curse of terrorism after a 30-year protracted war. This magnificent victory which amazed the whole world was possible due to the courage and determination of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the superb guidance of the Defence Secretary Mr Gotabaya Rajapaksa and the total commitment of the heads of all Armed Forces, the Police, the STF and the Civil Defence Force.

In this gruelling war, 29,000 ranaviru were killed in action in defence of our motherland and more than 14,000 ranaviru were partially or completely disabled. Our Armed Forces showed superb professionalism, discipline and tremendous combat skills and fought the enemy with state of the art military equipment and high morale and annihilated the LTTE in land, sea and air. During that period, the LTTE was considered as the most powerful, violent and gruesome terrorist organization in the world. In beating it, our armed forces became the most victorious and professional military in the world.

Thereafter, our Armed Forces liberated nearly 300,000 innocent Tamil civilians who were trapped by the LTTE and subsequently moved over to the Sri Lankan Army controlled areas for shelter. This movement of civilians from Nandikadal to Menik Farm in Vavuniya conducted by the army was one of the greatest humanitarian tasks carried out by any army in the world. After the end of the war, all the LTTE cadres numbering over 11,600 and 500 child soldiers who surrendered to our armed forces were rehabilitated and later released to society; some of them even joined the Sri Lankan Army.

After the conclusion of the war, our ranaviru have been actively engaged in development of our nation. They have constructed schools, places of worship, bridges and even highways at record time with minimal cost. At present, the Sri Lanka Navy is constructing the Little Hearts’ Cardiac Centre at the Lady Ridgeway Hospital, Colombo. This project is financed entirely by the public and I recall with gratitude that all categories of Armed Forces donated their one day salary for this noble project.The eight storeyed structure when complete, will provide facilities for cardiac surgery for around 1,500 children born with congenital heart diseases each year and save their valuable lives.

The Tri Forces have also played a wonderful role in times of disaster. Eg – the tsunami, landslides and floods. Our ranaviru have even sacrificed their lives in saving civilians trapped by landslides as happened in Aranayake in the recent past.This has brought all communities and the military forces together for the betterment of our nation. The magnificent role played by our armed forces in the recent Easter Sunday bombings is worthy of special mention.

The role of our armed forces in protecting our environment is also greatly appreciated by us all. The “thurumithuru” project conducted by the Sri Lankan Army in Wilpattu to overcome the rape of Wilpattu and later embarking on anenvironmental project closer to home in Battaramulla Armed Forces headquarters is commendable. The Sri Lankan Air Force too has contributed to the environment programme by conducting aerial seed bombings to improve the forest cover of our nation by the end of 2030. However, it is important that the trees which were planted are properly maintained and nurtured till they reach their full growth potential. All the Tri Forces have recently been engaged in maintaining the cleanliness of our beaches islandwide, with public support. However, the importance of maintaining the cleanliness of the beaches must be impressed on the people so that they will consider it a civic duty.

The Sri Lankan Navy must be applauded for protecting our territorial waters from illegal poaching by Indian fishermen. Their attempts to minimise smuggling of dangerous drugs to Sri Lanka through the sea route from Pakistan is worthy of special mention. You will recall the most recent detection of the largest haul of heroin and ice (methamphetamine), done in March this year valued at Rs. 6 billion. This is not to mention the Kerala ganja which is detected daily by the Sri Lanka Navy from the Jaffna peninsula.

Before I conclude, I wish the Sri Lankan Armed Forces the strength, courage and fortitude to maintain the security of our motherland, which is the prime need of the hour.


The COVID-19 epidemic had only just begun at the time of this conference. Thereafter the Armed Forces, Police, the Special Task Force and our Intelligence Services have been doing a magnificent job to control the spread of disease by contact tracing, managing quarantine centres and maintaining the curfew status of the country. With the vigilance and constant monitoringof the Armed Forces and the superb role played by all categories of health personnel in our country, we are confident that the spread of COVID-19 can be controlled in due course.

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