Defence Secretary Maj. Gen. (Retd) Kamal Gunaratne said historical relationship between China and Sri Lanka had been growing on the mutual trust built on pillars of political, economic, cultural, educational and most importantly in defence over the years.
Delivering the keynote address as the Chief Guest at the inaugural ceremony of the Chinese National Defence University (NDU) Alumni Association of Sri Lanka held at Shangri-La Hotel, Colombo, yesterday (July 30), he said China had proven this universal phenomenon in its relationship with Sri Lanka persistently.
“A friend in need is a friend in deed”, the Defence Secretary said.
While wishing the success in the progress of the Alumni’s future endevours, Maj. Gen. Gunaratne said China had been a historical ally of Sri Lanka across a multitude of avenues including Buddhism, trade, infrastructure development and global connectivity.
“Sri Lankans will never forget the great cooperation extended by China during our hard times which we had to undergo during the recent past domestically and globally”, he said.
The Defence Secretary also expressed his gratitude to China and the Chinese National Defence University for providing professional expertise in training the battle commanders in planning out counter strategies during the fight against the now defunct LTTE.
He also expressed his belief that the inauguration of the Alumni of the Chinese National Defence University would result in inaccessible heights between the existing bonds between the two countries in the future.
Establishing the Chinese NDU Alumni Association of Sri Lanka, it helps to enhance and foster mutual relations between graduates, mainly the officers of the Sri Lankan tri-forces while connecting them professionally and internationally.
Since 2001, over 75 army officers have been graduated from the NDU in China.
Chargé D'affaires of the Chinese Embassy Hu Wei was the Guest of Honour at the ceremony and Sri Lanka Customs Director General and Presidnet of the Alumni organising committee Maj. Gen. (Retd) G.V Ravipriya delivered welcome remarks at the event.
Acting Chief of Defence Staff and Sri Lanka Army Commander Lt. Gen. Shavendra Silva, Sri Lanka Air Force Commander Air Marshal Sumangala Dias, former Army and Navy Commanders, Chinese Embassy Defence Attaché Senior Colonel Wan Dong, Embassy officials and senior retired and serving tri-services officers were also present at the occasion.