The President presided over the book launch by Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka

  • Mr. Sarath Fonseka, who has overcome the challenges of war and faced numerous political hurdles, has the potential to render significant service to the country in the future – President.
President Ranil Wickremesinghe presided over the launch of the book “The Army Commander’s Promise to the Nation – I will not leave this war to the next Army Commander,” authored by Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka, former Army Commander, Member of Parliament, renowned for his exceptional leadership in ending the thirty-year war. The event took place today (28) at Nelum Pokuna Theatre, Colombo.
Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka presented the first copy of his book to the President. Additionally, a commemorative gift was given on behalf of President Ranil Wickremesinghe.
Acknowledging Sarath Fonseka’s service as a former Army Commander, the President highlighted his capability to continue contributing significantly to the country’s future, despite overcoming the challenges of war and politics.
President Ranil Wickremesinghe, in his additional remarks, highlighted:
“Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka holds a unique position as the only Field Marshal in the Sri Lankan Army. Beyond triumphing in military challenges, he has also navigated political challenges beyond the battlefield.
I first became familiar with him through General Cecil Vaidyaratne during the previous conflict. I developed a close friendship with General Cecil Vaidyaratne, who recommended that Sarath Fonseka had a promising future and should be given opportunities. As the conflict commenced and even before, during my tenure in government, I closely observed the participation of various officers. Among them, Sarath Fonseka stood out significantly for his exceptional leadership qualities.
Especially following the failure of the Jaffna Jaya Sikuru operation, the army lost all its gains. During that period, I served as Prime Minister and faced the critical decision of who should oversee Jaffna’s transfer. By then, casualties had significantly depleted our forces. Some suggested that Jaffna required a division. At that juncture, I directed the army commander to entrust Jaffna to Sarath Fonseka. He took charge and persevered until stability was restored.
Starting from a setback, he led the war effort to eventual victory, making tough decisions along the way. War is not a game; it entails loss of human lives and destruction of property. His leadership was instrumental in guiding the army through those challenging times.
We confronted one of the most challenging wars globally, on-going in other nations. Afghanistan had initiated its conflict before ours. Mr. Sarath Fonseka fulfilled his responsibilities diligently.
He also encountered numerous challenges in civilian life. His character grew stronger during solitary moments and even imprisonment. Subsequently, during the Good Governance administration, we deliberated with President Maithripala Sirisena and decided to confer upon him the prestigious title of Field Marshal, which he deemed worthy and accepted.
As a government, we had the privilege to harness Mr. Sarath Fonseka’s expertise and capabilities. He embodies resilience, whether on the battlefield or in politics, never backing down from a challenge. His dedication to serving the country remains steadfast. As the saying goes, ‘Old soldiers never die, they simply fade away. In this instance he won’t fade away either, so he is still there. Therefore, I anticipate that the country will have the opportunity to benefit from his services in the future.
Mr. Sarath Fonseka once remarked in Jaffna, “Now that the war is over, peace must be established in the country.” I am committed to advancing these efforts and urge everyone to unite in nation-building. Our army is seasoned and skilled, and with the collective support of all, we can rebuild our nation and foster lasting peace.
Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka,
“The victory in the war was made possible by the immense dedication of our war heroes, many of whom sacrificed their lives for our country. Countless others were left disabled. I extend my utmost respect to all the families of these war heroes, who made such sacrifices for the future of our children and for peace in our nation.
During my tenure as Army Commander, there was widespread belief that a political solution was necessary to end the war. Initially, security personnel were disheartened, but we ultimately achieved victory in the thirty-year conflict. This victory could not have been attained without the blood, sweat, and unwavering dedication of our soldiers. After the war, I have doubts whether the former rulers truly appreciated the sacrifices made by our war heroes and the people of this country.
The event was attended by various religious leaders led by the Maha Sangha, Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena, Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva, Member of Parliament Vajira Abeywardena, former Speaker Karu Jayasuriya, a group of ministers, Secretary to the President Saman Ekanayake, government officials, Ambassadors, High Commissioners, former Army Chiefs, Mrs. Anoma Fonseka and family members, and invited guests.