Sri Lanka is a present day model of how nations could blend security and development together to provide a better life for its people, the Commander of Army Lieutenant General Daya Ratnayake said.
Welcoming the participants to the Fourth annual Defense Seminar 2014 commenced Monday at the Galadari Hotel in Colombo, the Army Commander noted that the employment of the defense sector to add additional capacity to national institutions, leading national development, is one of the many areas that could be beneficial to other countries as well.
He told the participants to the seminar, themed "Sri Lanka: Challenges to a Rising Nation", that the benefits of this concept in the urban regeneration will be visible to them when they visit the Sri Lankan capital in the next few days during the three-day conference.
The Army Commander explained that the vision encapsulated in the President's 'Mahinda Chintana' policy calls for the island to be transformed into a Naval, Aviation, Commercial, Energy and Knowledge Hub.
He said the employment of the defense sector to secure, and further these aspirations, remains Sri Lanka's principal security effort.
The Army Chief told the gathering that the three-decade violent conflict with the most ruthless terrorist organization of the world, has taught Sri Lankans many valuable lessons and among them is the value of national security and the will to pursue it at any cost.
"It is my contention that this incentive of peace experienced after the conflict and prosperity within reach, has strengthened our security. This should not be interpreted in any way as letting down our guard. Our national security is stronger than ever. Today we are much smarter, more vigilant and possess greater responsive capability to deal with threats to national security," the Commander assured.
The Commander said Sri Lanka strongly believes in a balance between national security which focuses on the State and human security on the individual.
He said the Defense Seminar will show that Sri Lanka's experience can be a model for intellectual discourse with development as a dividend of peace and security.
"It focuses on the interaction between security, development and prosperity and their inseparable partnerships," he said.
Minister of External Affairs, Prof. G.L Peiris was the Chief Guest of the Defense Seminar 2014. Secretary to Treasury and Ministry of Finance Dr. P.B. Jayasundara delivered the keynote address at the inaugural session. Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga also addressed the seminar in today's session.
This year 197 foreign participants, 35 Defence Attachés and more than 40 diplomats representing 66 countries are expected to attend the Seminar.