State Minister Wijewardene graces 3rd 'Colombo Air Symposium'
The 3rd 'Colombo Air Symposium', organized by the Sri
Lanka Air Force began at the Eagles' Lakeside Banquet and Convention
Hall in Attidiya, today (12th Thursday, October). The State Minister of
Defence Hon. Ruwan Wijewardene attended as the Chief Guest of the
inaugural session held this morning. The Keynote address was delivered
by Secretary to the Ministry of Defence Mr. Kapila Widyaratne PC.
The opening remarks of the conference, held under the
theme 'Air Power in Addressing Asymmetric Threats' was made by the
Commander of the Air Force Air Marshal Kapila Jayampathy.
This year, the Symposium is attended by 24 foreign
representatives from 17 countries. The inaugural day will include four
sessions with 08 foreign and local speakers sharing their knowledge
while the final day, tomorrow will have two sessions where 04 foreign
and local speakers will share their knowledge.
Addressing the gathering, State Minister Wijewardane
said, that the contemporary world has changed a lot in terms of
geo-politics, strategies and security concerns and the threat has
changed from conventional to asymmetric in all dimensions of land, sea,
air, space and cyber space. Modern nation states consider armed forces
as an inalienable element of national power. In the present world order,
where traditional security threats have been superseded by
unconventional threats, conventional armed forces would be obsolete in
terms of both brains and brawns unless they are ready to evolve with a
futuristic vision, understanding the modern geo-strategic realities, he
'We must focus on modern threats to our national
security that can lead to instability', he said and added that leaders
of nations are seeking how best they can make partnerships with other
countries. International conferences such as Colombo Air Symposium,
therefore, can play a crucial role in providing a platform for
discussions and medium to form strong partnerships, he opined.
Reminding those present of the humanitarian mission,
he said that we had to face one of the most powerful and ruthless
terrorist organizations in the world, and added that the tactics,
conspiracies and the guerilla attacks were to be encountered on daily
basis and atrocities on civilians, human shields, urban terrorist
attacks, suicide bombings and suicide attacks, sea borne operations,
propaganda and psychological operations were part and partial of the
lives of Sri Lankans.
He noted that, only the exceptional and adaptable
nature of the Sri Lankan forces guaranteed the final victory to the
He said that he believes, security is binding with the
country's development and that the geo-political importance of Sri Lanka
is a compelling factor for the future of our country, both for
development and for regional security. Peace, harmony and economic
prosperity are our greatest aspirations. Reconciliation and
rehabilitation demand serious attention of all stake holders, and
without establishing peace in the minds of citizens, the aspired
prosperity would be a distant dream. In this context, the Sri Lanka Air
Force, makes an immense contribution towards national developmental
goals along with the other sister forces in addition to their sole
responsibility of national defence, he said.
He emphasized that, regional and global level
collaboration will be an essential component of the future defence set
up where the sharing of knowledge, transfer of technology, networking of
information and combined operations play a vital part. Knowledge
transfer, information exchange and technical collaboration are mandatory
in any preparedness plan in forming a common platform to act in unison,
he further said.
Ambassadors, the Chief of Defence Staff, Commanders of
the Army and Navy, IG, former Commanders, senior tri forces officers,
members of the diplomatic corps, foreign participants and distinguished
invitees were also present at the inaugural session.
The annual 'Colombo Air Symposium' provides a venue
for senior military leadership and other experts to discuss and examine
the present and emerging global security concerns in depth and the role
of Air Power in addressing such threats. It brings together the
knowledge of military professionals and experts in various related
fields into one forum that seeks the modes of effective deployment of
collective air power in addressing common issues of today and the