‘Duty of defence attachés to serve country and people’ | Daily News

‘Duty of defence attachés to serve country and people’

Chief of Defence Staff Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne, Foreign Minister Tilak Marapana, BIDTI Director General Ambassador Pamela J. Deen, and Foreign Secretary Ravinatha Aryasinha, at the awards ceremony.
Chief of Defence Staff Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne, Foreign Minister Tilak Marapana, BIDTI Director General Ambassador Pamela J. Deen, and Foreign Secretary Ravinatha Aryasinha, at the awards ceremony.

Foreign Minister Tilak Marapana said the prime duty of Sri Lankan Defence Attachés assigned to Sri Lanka missions overseas is to serve the country and its people and they should be mindful of the fact that they are “there to serve and not to be served.”

Foreign Minister Marapana was speaking as the chief guest at the certificate awarding ceremony of the intensive training programme for military officers who would be assigned as Defence Attachés / Advisors in Sri Lanka Missions overseas, organised by the Bandaranaike International Diplomatic Training Institute (BIDTI), the training arm of the Foreign Affairs Ministry.

The certificate awarding ceremony was held at the Foreign Affairs Ministry on Friday (March 8). The participating military officers received their certificates from Foreign Minister Marapana upon successful completion of the training programme.

The Intensive Training Programme, which was conducted at the BIDTI from February 18 to March 7, was attended by 30 officers from the Sri Lanka Army, Sri Lanka Air Force and the Sri Lanka Navy, who would be assigned as Defence Attachés / Advisors in Sri Lanka Missions overseas in the near future.

This was the first time that the BIDTI conducted a training programme for prospective Defence Attachés / Advisors of Sri Lanka.

Delivering the keynote address of the ceremony, Foreign Minister Marapana said that although these officers receive a comprehensive training in their relevant field, when serving abroad as Defence Attachés, they are exposed to a new climate of work. In this context, training programmes of this nature would equip them with the broad spectrum of knowledge required to carry out their diplomatic assignments.

The Minister said they should not forget the most important element of their work - that is to serve the people of Sri Lanka.

Addressing the ceremony, Foreign Secretary Ravinatha Aryasinha paid tribute to the defence services and the Defence Attachés who served during the conflict and the immediate aftermath of the conflict.

He recalled with appreciation the tremendous support and leverage that the diplomatic agents received from Defence Attachés in their battle against the LTTE in international fronts. Referring to the rising extremism in the international arena and the importance of defence cooperation in curbing it, he requested the prospective Defence Attachés to help the international community to deal with the menace of terrorism with the benefit of their experience in fighting one the world’s most ruthless terrorist organisations.

This intensive training programme included lectures on theoretical as well as practical aspects of diplomacy, covering a wide range of topics including the history of Sri Lanka’s diplomatic relations, foreign policy of Sri Lanka since independence, bilateral and multilateral diplomacy, cultural diplomacy, media relations, human rights, protocol and the role of a Defence Attaché in a Sri Lanka Mission overseas.


 

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