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Sri Lankan army commander lists ‘non-governmental organisations’ as security challenge

The head of Sri Lanka’s army listed “multinational corporations” and “non-governmental organisations” as unconventional security challenges that the state may face, as he delivered an address to military local and foreign undergraduates at a military academy last week.

Shavendra Silva, who is currently barred from travel to the US over his role in overseeing war crimes, claimed that “the security challenges of Sri Lanka involve not only conventional foes but also narcotic cartels, multinational corporations, non-governmental organisations and so on”.

“I believe, the future challenges to the National Security will be notably irregular in style when compared with most of the hostile encounters we had in our modern history,” he added. “Therefore, preparing for such an eventuality requires the investment of very significant human, material and technological resources."

The war crimes accused commander, who also heads Sri Lanka’s coronavirus task force, went on to state that the “Army must also have the capability and capacity to accomplish assigned missions while confronting increasingly dangerous threats in a complex operational environment”.

"In conclusion, Sri Lanka is presently moving forward in a positive note amidst numerous challenges originated in local and international contexts,” he added.

“The economic development, reduction of corruption, constructive engagement against alleged war crimes, revitalising the foreign policy towards win-win philosophy, promoting of meaningful reconciliation, strengthening of National Security matrix, socio-economic development, attracting investments and recently erupted pandemic situation are the challenges now tabled before the Government.”

“The Government of Sri Lanka is working at its best to harness every opportunity to cope up with such challenges in view of venturing into a prosperous future. Therefore, as members of the Armed Forces, we should be able to establish sustainable security environment in support of the Government to accelerate its constructive efforts, ensuring the National Security.”

His speech comes as Sri Lankan president Gotabaya Rajapaksa continued to accelerate militarisation across the island, with the promotion of senior military figures to government roles, and deployment of troops in the North-East.

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