President underscores Imperative of Strategic Blueprint amid shifting Global Geopolitical Dynamics
- Unveiled a Visionary Path for Sri Lanka to safeguard Sri Lanka among the prevailing Global Turbulence.
In his address at the Graduation ceremony of the National Defence College, hosted at Eagle Lakeside, Ratmalana yesterday (21), President Ranil Wickremesinghe highlighted the historical significance associated with the National Defence College building. Formerly the residence of Admiral Edwin Thomas Layton during World War II, the edifice is poised to become a focal point in deliberations concerning the strategic decisions formulated within its walls in 1942. The President underscored that these decisions played a pivotal role in upholding British dominance over the Indian Ocean during that crucial juncture in history.
He mentioned that the post-World War II era saw leaders like Mr. D. S. Senanayake, Sir John Kotelawala and Mrs. Sirimavo Bandaranaike championing the cause of freedom from great power rivalries and their vision, later endorsed at the Bandung Conference and Jakarta Concord, reflecting a commitment to navigating international relations with an independent stance.
As global geopolitics undergo shifts, transitioning from a unipolar world to a more complex and integrated one, the President mentioned that the recent changes in U.S. foreign policy under President Joe Biden add a new layer of complexity. The emergence of alliances such as the G7 and Quad, coupled with China’s evolving position in the global order, President Wickremesinghe underscored the need for Sri Lanka to adeptly navigate this changing landscape.
Against the backdrop of events like the war in Ukraine, China’s naval strength and the conflict in Israel, President Wickremesinghe mentioned the importance of Sri Lanka facing the imperative of economic self-sufficiency and actively engaging in foreign policy beyond traditional arenas such as Geneva. Collaboration with like-minded nations in the Global South becomes crucial in this context.
He mentioned the need for a comprehensive strategy that considers economic, political and foreign policy factors, deemed essential to ensure that the Indian Ocean remains free from dominance by any single power. The President mentioned his recent participation in discussions on green hydrogen and the ambitious goal of attracting $10 billion in investments by 2030 highlighting the importance of a robust economy in achieving these objectives.
In a call for a nuanced foreign policy that goes beyond the confines of Geneva, the President stressed the need to address international issues such as climate change and trade within the framework of the G77. The upcoming meetings of the Non-Aligned and G77 in January provide a crucial platform for the Global South to redefine its purposes and collaborate for global peace.
Acknowledging the broad spectrum of defence, President Wickremesinghe underscored the importance of short-term courses for civilians and government officials by promoting collaboration with the foreign ministry to craft a comprehensive national defence strategy.
Looking ahead, he revealed plans to present the future foreign policy and defence review to parliament while highlighting the necessity of addressing neglected areas such as security, defence, the economy, and the environment. As Sri Lanka charts its course in this ever-evolving global landscape, a holistic approach encompassing diverse factors is key to ensuring a resilient and forward-looking national strategy.
In this occasion, President Ranil Wickremesinghe conferred degrees upon 36 senior officers from the Armed Forces and Sri Lanka Police, who have proficiently concluded course number 02 at the National Defence College.
Additionally, the inaugural copy of the National Defence College’s Yearbook was tendered to the President, accompanied by a presentation of a commemorative token by Major General D. G. S. Senarath Yapa, the Commandant of the National Defence College.
This event was graced by the presence of notable personalities such as Mr. Sagala Ratnayaka; Senior Advisor to the President on National Security and Chief of Staff, Major General Kamal Gunaratne (Retired); Secretary to the Ministry of Defence, General Shavendra Silva; Chief of Defence Staff, Major General Vikum Liyanage; Commander of the Sri Lanka Army, Vice Admiral Priyantha Perera; Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy, Air Marshal Udeni Rajapaksha; Commander of the Sri Lanka Air Force, Inspector General of Police C.D. Wickramaratne, Rear Admiral Dammika Kumara; Vice Chancellor of KDU, foreign military dignitaries, Special Invitees, Senior military and police officials.