Army Responds Strongly To Fonseka: Questions Fmr. Chief's Moral And Ethical Right To Discuss 'Battle-preparedness'

Issuing a strong statement in response to remarks made by its former chief Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka, Army today said it was not "ethically right" for a retired military officer to talk about the current situation of the Army and its battle-preparedness. 

Addressing a press conference in Colombo last week, Fonseka, now a Minister, expressed doubts about the current state of affairs within the Army and its battle-preparedness. 

Fonseka's controversial statement has triggered a strong response from the Army - an organization he led for nearly five years. 

"In recent times, some retired Army Officers have alleged that they are not contended with the ‘battle alertness of the Army’ at present. It is not only ethically right for someone to review the status quo of the Army and its battlefield preparedness from outside after having gone on retirement years ago, but it also does question someone’s moral right to hurl such allegations. It is pointed out that the Sri Lanka Army with the dedicated objective of strengthening it further when necessary has consulted former Commanders and retired Officers with battle-hardened experiences with good faith and the Army would continue such practices unfailingly in future, too," the statement issued by the Army, said. 

It also added, "The Sri Lanka Army strongly condems such critisisms, attributing to the government, Ministry of Defence and the command of the Army, which are intended to serve own personal and political agendas, and appeals intelligent people of this country, regardless of rhetorics of such opportunists, to repose the confidence in the Army which has defended our country in the past, and is commited to do so in future, too as a professional outfit, taking all measures to prevent any resurgence of warfare."

Moreover, Battalions with lesser number of troops have been reinforced under the Army’s right-sizing programme having taken all necessary measures to place all Battalions and Units on alert to face any eventualities in an organized manner. This has been grossly misinterpreted as closure of camps by some self-claimed ‘war analysts’. By this time, all units under the Security Force Headquarters-Jaffna  have been reorganized under the right-sizing programme, and the Sri Lanka Army challenges those so-called ‘war analysts’ to publicly name what those operationally important camps, said to have been closed down, if any"

The Army also stated that relocation or shifting of camps that remained during the last stages of war and afterwards did not in any way amount to any lapse, and such alterations were done, assessing security developments at ground level particularly on the recommendations of field commanders.

"It is pertinent to note here that some former Commanders of the Army also have effected such changes in the past. Such courses of action, if necessary would continue in future also, assessing the security needs of the country," the Army explained. 

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