Second Anniversary of vanquishing terrorism:
Country reaps peace dividends
The Sanguipiddy bridge
Many politicians, defence officials, war experts and even the service
commanders in the past thought that Sri Lanka could never get rid of
terrorism. Successive Presidents since J.R. Jayewardene tried virtually
all their might to crush terrorism without much success.
There had been many rounds of peace talks but all what the LTTE, the
world's most ruthless terrorist organisation, did was to take successive
Presidents and Governments for a good ride. The LTTE made use of the
negotiation periods or ceasefire intervals to regroup and strengthen
their military capabilities in the name of peace.
Leaders such as R. Premadasa and Ranil Wickremesinghe, who preferred
peace at any cost, danced to the tune of the Tiger terrorists and
granted almost anything and everything the LTTE wanted during the rounds
of peace talks. But all what Velupillai Prabhakaran knew was gun culture
and continued to keep faith on bullet, even at the expense of his own
The Sri Lanka Army produced some of the greatest Generals of the
calibre of General Denzil Kobbekaduwa. However, none of them could
vanquish the LTTE leadership and destroy it as the Heads of State during
those times succumbed to international pressure on every occasion our
Security Forces made headway.
Sri Lanka eventually found the right political leadership that was
solely needed to defeat the most ruthless terrorist outfit when a
fearless leader with a far-sighted vision was elected to change the
country's destiny. From the time President Rajapaksa was elected as the
First Citizen on November 18, 2005, he made every endeavour to protect
the country's sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Unlike earlier leaders, President Rajapaksa is not prepared to
compromise anything that devalues the country's sovereignty and
territorial integrity. Despite mounting pressure from certain countries
and influential international organisations, the President stood his
ground, and did not allow any country or organisation to underestimate
the sovereignty of a legal State. It was the indomitable courage of our
Security Forces and the fearless political leadership of the President
that helped demolish the LTTE's dream of a separate state. The inspiring
leadership of President Rajapaksa was undoubtedly the most vital prop in
Sri Lanka's history to eliminate the scourge of terrorism.
More importantly, there was the perfect match in the Defence Ministry
in Secretary of Defence Gotabaya Rajapaksa. His vast knowledge and
experience as a senior officer in the Sri Lanka Army was a distinct
advantage and provided the ideal combination to the political leadership
of President Rajapaksa.
When President Rajapaksa first assumed office in 2005, the LTTE never
allowed him to settle down and resorted to a series of terror acts. But
the President went that extra mile in the name of peace. When the LTTE
closed the Mavil Aru and deprived innocent civilians the basic need of
water, the President decided that enough is enough.
The initial mission of the Security Forces was to overpower Tigers at
Mavil Aru and provide water to the farmer community there. But that
initial victory paved way to the ultimate crushing of the LTTE at
Nandikadal lagoon in a three years' time.
Exactly two years ago, Sri Lanka created history by becoming the
first country to eradicate terrorism. Only a handful of people were
confident that Sri Lanka could achieve that Herculean task which at one
stage looked almost impossible. Thus, only a few people were certain
that Sri Lanka could put a permanent end to terrorism and liberate the
country from the clutches of LTTE terror.
Sri Lanka reached that golden milestone in world military history on
May 18, 2009, thus ending those untold hardships experienced by innocent
civilians in the North and the East. Those great victories by the
Security Forces have given a new lease of life for the people living in
the North and the East, paving way for a rapid development in the two
Many mega projects have been implemented during the past couple of
years to benefit those rescued Tamil civilians, especially to build the
confidence of the Tamil youth who had only witnessed stark LTTE terror.
The Tigers brainwashed Tamil youth to show the world that the Sinhalese
were their sworn enemy. The youth in the North and the East should be
enlightened to prove the goodwill and amity that prevailed among the
three main communities before the LTTE sowed the seeds of ruthless
terrorism on our soil.
Sri Lanka has a rich tradition of having repudiated even the most
ruthless invaders thousands of years ago by defeating them and saving
the motherland. It is home to people with a traditional history of
bravely confronting invaders from the time of King Dutugemunu.
Sri Lanka by no means can afford to lose what was won at such great
sacrifice to be divided or even a shadow of separatism to fall on it.
As the nation celebrates the Second Anniversary of the greatest
victory of victories and salutes the Security Forces for a stupendous
task well done, we too must also acknowledge our warm gratitude to the
friendly countries which supported us in the battle against terrorism.
Had it not been for their wholehearted support, Sri Lanka would perhaps
never have become the first country to eradicate terrorism.
These sincere friends in the international community acted with the
greatest responsibility towards Sri Lanka's freedom and sovereignty. Now
it is time for reconciliation by linking the North and the South with an
unshakeable bridge of friendship. We must sink petty differences and
join hands and work in the true spirit to rebuild the nation.
Infrastructure development in the North and the East has been going
on apace and the people in those areas too have started making a
laudable contribution to build the national economy.
The dividends of the eradication of terror are already visible with
significant developments in the tourism industry. Business is thriving
in the cultivation, fishing and the dairy sectors, ensuring a steady and
regular cash flow to the two provinces.
With gratitude and affection, we salute all those brave sons of our
soil who had made the supreme sacrifice to unite the nation and liberate
those innocent Tamil civilians who underwent untold agony during the
ruthless LTTE terror. Those illustrious sons of Mother Lanka sacrificed
their life and limb to make our future brighter. We also remember at
this point of time, the thousands of Security Forces personnel who were
injured during the three-and-a-half-year 'Humanitarian Operation'. The
brave soldiers had not only made the most precious contribution to
uphold the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Motherland, but
had also ensured a safe future for over 600,000 innocent civilians who
had been forcibly held by the LTTE terror outfit.
Sri Lanka, which has been looked upon as a symbol of courage to the
world, is gradually rising from the ashes. We must make a bold and
determined effort to build the nation, in keeping with the rich culture
and heritage as the country is blessed with an abundance of natural
It is the duty and the responsibility of the international community
and organisations such as the United Nations to support Sri Lanka
further in the reconciliation and nation building process.
They should not get carried away by sinister campaigns of a section
of Tamil Diaspora which is making a desperate attempt to level war crime
If the international community and international organisations are
sincerely interested about the wellbeing of the people in the North and
the East, especially Tamils, they must make an active contribution in
the Government's efforts to rebuilt what had been destroyed by the