UK welcomes return of lands by Sri Lankan armed forces

British High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, James Dauris, welcomed the renewal of links between British and Sri Lankan armed forces that has happened over the past year. He commended the armed forces on the land releases that have taken place, and said that further releases would continue to contribute to building confidence between communities.

The High Commissioner spoke about the importance of post-conflict reconciliation, drawing on the UK’s own experience in Northern Ireland. He commented that truth and accountability work in both the national interest and the armed forces’ self-interest, and are necessities for modern militaries.

High Commissioner Dauris explained that a process of truth and accountability advances reconciliation and prosperity – this is in the wider national interest. It builds confidence and trust between communities, and between the armed forces and the communities it is the responsibility of our servicemen and women to protect. And among many reasons why it is in the military’s self interest, he suggested that it enhances credibility and self-esteem, strengthens morale and wins respect.

He also spoke of the UK’s recent Strategic Defence Spending Review (SDSR) and particular challenges that will drive UK security priorities and thinking for a decade. Priorities include the increasing threat posed by terrorism, extremism and instability; and the impact of technology, especially cyber threats. Events of the last year have shown that these remain as important now as they were when the review was published.

Since January 2016 the UK and Sri Lanka have enhanced their defence ties, including through the appointment of defence attachés and programmes involving army, navy and air force personnel. (Colombo Gazette)