The Sri Lankan army announced the launch of a new “1 Corps” unit that would be based in Kilinochchi this week, as it continue to expand its militarised hold over the Tamil homeland more than 12 years since the end of the armed conflict.
The new 1 Corps of the Sri Lanka Army will reportedly “constitute a large mobile reserve as the key striking force, capable of executing emergency operations under trying circumstances or against irregular adversaries,” according to the Sri Lankan army. “This is the first time in the military history that this combined type of highest tactical fighting formation, 1 Corps with Reserve Strike Forces (RSF) and Special Operations Forces (SOF) as a force multiplier came into being under one command,” it added.
The unit is to be composed of the troops of the 53 Division, 58 Division, Commando Brigade, Special Forces Brigade, Air Mobile Brigade, Infantry Brigades and other arms.
The head of the Sri Lankan army, Shavendra Silva, was present at an inauguration ceremony in Kilinochchi. The war crimes accused commander was dressed in all black and flanked by Sinhala Kandyan dancers at the ceremony, as he inspected troops at the new complex.
The latest announcement comes just days after Sri Lanka's Ministry of Finance presented its Appropriation Bill for 2022 with the largest allocation, 12.3%, being allocated to the Ministry of Defence.
Sri Lanka’s increase in militarisation comes despite increasing scrutiny from the international community and the public over its increasing militarisation. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, slammed the "corrosive impact of militarisation" earlier this year, whilst Sri Lanka’s economy also continues to falter with a food crisis and the prices of basic commodities increasing by as much as 37% across the board.