Army chief tells troops to protect their image

Sri Lanka army commander Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya has urged his troops to protect their image in the face of the recognition they have internationally, the Sri Lanka army website said on Saturday.

Jayasuriya, in a message to his troops to mark the traditional Sri Lankan New Year, said that there are attempts to tarnish the image of the government and the armed forces internationally.

He said that the Sri Lankan army can take pride in the fact that it played a major role to establish peace in the country after 30 years of war.

The army defeated the LTTE three years ago but since then has faced allegations of committing human rights abuses during the final stages of the battle.

“Countless unsuccessful efforts at international level, adopted by different groups with vested interests to tarnish the image of the government as well as the armed forces, are heard since of recent times. We must face such challenges tirelessly and stand by the country’s sovereignty at all times. Since our Army is recognized world-wide as a fearless and a highly disciplined organization, you must take pride in it and work all the time to sustain that standard and the Army’s image,” the army website quoted Jayasuriya as saying.

Jayasuriya told his troops to undertake the challenge of assisting the government in its massive post war development drive.

“Our next challenge in this peaceful and unitary country is development. You, as disciplined members in an exemplary Army, undertook the challenge of unifying the country, and you should be able to be the guiding light for that challenge of development too,” he said.

The government is involved in rebuilding the war battered north and east of the country and is also developing the south with foreign assistance by constructing new highways, ports and a new international airport.