The Secretary of Defense Mr. Gotabe Rajapaksa, Madame Rajapaksa, Commander of the Sri Lankan Army Madame Jayasuriya, Commander of Sri Lankan Military Academy, Defense Advisors from foreign countries, Officers, Distinguished Guests, Officer Cadets, Ladies and Gentlemen, Good Morning.

Let me first thank His Excellency, the President of Sri Lanka and the Commander in Chief of the Sri Lankan Armed Forces, His Excellency Mahinda Rajapaksa for inviting me to the Commissioning parade of this prestigious Sri Lankan Academy at Dhiyatalawa.

Dhiyatalawa has a very, long history; A history that is also entwined and associated with not just the Sri Lankan Military but also with the Maldives Cadet and Military. It has been flourishing since the 19 early 50’s with the opening of the first ceremonies here by the first Sri Lankan Prime Minister Dissanayake long, long way back in the 1950’s.

Since then this very prestigious Academy has been producing Officers and Soldiers fit to defend not just this country, but I believe also the Indian Ocean and with it the peace of our region. Sri Lankan Army, unlike many, many other Armies who have tried so many times and failed is one of the few Armies, one of the few Militaries that has been able to overcome a ruthless terrorist organization.

We commend the Sri Lankan people, its leadership and its Military for the peace that it has brought to the Indian Ocean and Sri Lanka. Overcoming terrorist activities in Sri Lanka of course has its implications not just here but throughout the region and the world at large. Sri Lanka has been able to overcome such difficulties and challenges I would argue, mainly because of what you’re doing here today. The excellent training, the capacity building of its people fit to meet the challenges of today are all made true here in Dhiyatalawa.

I commend the Commanders, the Teachers, the Officers and the Cadets who are all so engaged in this very valuable work.

Peace has come to Sri Lanka, but this is not the time to stand down. Sri Lankan Army should always be in our minds, vigilant of what not only might happen in the Peninsula, in the islands but also of what may happen in the wider Indian Ocean.

We live in an area, in a region that is so focused with international conflicts and issues situated right in the middle of the Indian Ocean. We are the people of the Ocean and therefore it is upon us to defend and to maintain the peace of the Indian Ocean.

I am so honored and so pleased to be able to come here. Wish you all graduates Good Luck with your futures; wish you all families Good Luck with your nationhood and nation building work.

Last night I witnessed one of your Passing-On Projects where you argued for the role of the Sri Lankan military in a post-conflict situation. While what was suggested was impressive and certainly very, very useful for nation building, we will always have to have in mind the core functions of the military which very often is so related to nation building and development activities.

I have seen them, I have seen you working at it, we have seen the changes that you have brought to your country in a very short period of time and I can only say congratulations and that’s an immense work, as much work as you have done in gaining peace, you are now engaged in maintaining peace and giving prosperity to your people.

There is no other noble work, and again and again I will congratulate you all and commend you all on the excellent work that you are doing.

Just before I leave, I again thank the Commander-in-Chief of the Sri Lankan Armed Forces President Rajapaksa and his government. I specifically would like to extend my well wishes to the Secretary of Defense Mr. Gotabe who has been instrumental in both the military planning and also in distributing the peace dividends that he is and the government is presently distributing to the people.

Again Thank You Very Much and Good Morning.