Top monks: ‘a strong army is an asset’

[TamilNet, Sunday, 11 July 2004, 10:51 GMT]
Sri Lanka’s most senior Buddhist monks last week called for a strong army, saying it would be an asset to the country, whether there is war or peace, press reports said Friday. The top monks of the powerful Asgiriya and Malwatte chapters, made their comments when bestowing official blessing on the new Army Commander Lt. Gen. Shantha Kottegoda last Wednesday, reports added.

Lt. Gen. Kottegoda called on the monks after paying homage to the Sacred Tooth Relic, accompanied by his wife and two children.

The most Ven. Udugama Sri Buddharakkitha Mahanayake Thero of the Asgiriya chapter commended the yeoman service of the Sri Lanka Army and said that it was important to preserve the strength and the dignity of the service.

“The Army is useful not only during war. It is an asset to the country and it should be kept alert,” he added.

Lt. Gen. Kottegoda said the Sri Lanka Army had throughout been kept strong and alert. It had gained recognition locally as well as internationally and even at present, he said steps are taken to maintain the army strong to face any situation if there was any necessesity, he said.

The most Ven. Tibbatuwawe Sri Siddhartha Sumangala Mahanayake Thero of Malwatte said, "The [Sinhala] land, nation and religion were protected by the forces and the police.”

“If not for their contribution and sacrifice the motherland, the nation and the religion would not have been saved,” he said.

“Our blessings are on the forces and the police that they will remain strong and fit to continue their responsibility,” he said.

The Sri Lankan security forces are almost completely drawn from the Sinhala community. However, it maintains auxiliary units comprising cadres from militants groups opposed to the Liberation Tigers.

 

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