The Sunday Leader

Military Men To Head Key SL Missions

  • Militarizing The Foreign Service

By Mandana Ismail Abeywickrema

Karannagoda to the UK

The appointment of military personnel as heads of key overseas missions of the country has caused doubts among members of the Foreign Service whether it is a move to militarise the service.

The government has decided to appoint former Navy Commander Wasantha Karannagoda as Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner to the UK, Major General Prasanna Silva as the defence attaché to the High Commission in the UK, Major General G.A. Chandrasiri as the Permanent Representative to the Sri Lankan Mission to the UN in New York, and Major General Shavendra Silva as the Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN in New York.
Diplomatic sources, who requested anonymity, told The Sunday Leader that the move to appoint military personnel to key foreign missions was mooted by senior members of the country’s defence establishment.
“The government feels that appointing military men to head the country’s overseas missions would help it respond to various questions posed by the international community, especially the Western world, about the final stages of the war last year,” a diplomatic source said, adding that these military personnel would also be able to show the world how the war was won.
Nevertheless, the question that looms among Foreign Service personnel in the country is how effective these individuals would be when carrying out multilateral diplomacy.
“Diplomacy is a different game and cannot be done by people with guns,” the source noted.
Commander Karannagoda was the chief of the Navy in the security forces’ final battle with the LTTE. Major General Silva during the war was the head of the 58th Brigade, which was instrumental in capturing several former LTTE strongholds including the Mannar Rice Bowl, Nachchikuda, Devil’s Point, Pooneryn, Kilinochchi, Elephant Pass, Vishvamadu and Puthukudirippu.
The appointment of Majors General Chandrasiri and Silva comes in the wake of allegations of human rights and rules of combat violations being leveled against the security forces and the LTTE by the UN.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has appointed a panel of experts to inquire into these allegations and accountability during the final stages of the war last year.
According to External Affairs Ministry sources, the government is looking at breaking the LTTE’s international network while opening an avenue to respond to various questions raised about the final stages on the war by appointing military personnel to head Sri Lankan missions overseas.
However, the country is currently in need of cultivating a strong relationship with the diaspora through its foreign missions.
“A military person would not be able to build a successful relationship with the Tamil Diaspora. The diaspora is not free to build a dialogue with military personnel. Also, career diplomats have wider access while military personnel would have limited access,” a Foreign Service official said. Explaining further, the official said the response to military personnel by other foreign officers is ‘lower’ than that received by a career diplomat.
“One can be a good military leader, but may not necessarily be a good diplomat,” the Foreign Service official said.
Nevertheless, Government Spokesperson Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said the military personnel decided by the government to be posted into Sri Lankan missions overseas have a proven track record and have delivered the targets set out to them.
“Appointments to foreign missions are the prerogative of the President and military personnel have been appointed to foreign missions in the past as well,” he said.
He also said that other Asian countries have appointed military personnel to their diplomatic missions.
When asked if these military personnel who played a role in the security forces final war against the LTTE last year would respond directly to concerns raised about the conduct of the war by the Western nations, Rambukwella said it could be so.
Also, when queried if the appointment of Major General Silva to the UN would have an adverse impact on the inquiry by the UN’s panel of experts into Sri Lanka, the Minister said, “I would think otherwise, they could participate, contribute and make use of their expertise. If there are any allegations made, they could respond.”
According to Rambukwella, all these factors have contributed to the government’s decision to appoint military personnel to its key foreign missions despite the objections raised in some quarters.
Post-war Sri Lanka has now entered the crucial phase of mending relations with the Western world, who have now distanced themselves from the country. The massive task of building these relations based on Sri Lanka’s foreign policy while combating the LTTE’s international network now lies in the hands of military men in the country’s foreign missions.

53 Comments for “Military Men To Head Key SL Missions”

  1. K Suresh

    Justice Nihal Jayasinghe as High Commissioner in London was utter failure. What can the military men do in London. They can only further fail and alienate the Tamils in the UK.

    • PS

      Great move by the President.

    • Ruwan FErdinandez

      Jayasinghe should never have been sent even to Burma, let alone the UK. It was a bad move by MR. Sarath Wijesinghe and his lawyer clan get preferential treatment from their batch mate. Dayan or Palitha Kohona would have done a great job in London. Shavendra would do a good job as well there. People like Jayasinghe are a disgrace.

    • Third Angle

      When it comes to Sarath Fonseka (SF) this news paper also backed him to become the top most diplomat and executive president of Sri Lanka. But when it comes to other military personnel these diplomatic positions are not suitable for them. What is this duplicity of these bogus writers?

  2. This is a plan to get rid of the men who may otherwise interfere with the current leadership who fear any possible coup.

    But eventual y the outcome will be to bring the aledged violators of human rights clser to the investgators.

  3. Janith

    50% of the U.S diplomat service consists of ex-US military officers.

    • Ashoka Jayalath

      Janith – Your statistics`are totally wrong. What is your source?

      • Lankawick

        EVERY Diplomatic office of the USA…has Military & CIA Intelligence officials attached .

        So has all major powers….USA – Russia – China – India – Germany – France – UK – etc – etc
        Their Diplomatic offices have both Military & Intelligence personal…

  4. Vathy

    Already some army men who were involved in chemical bombing had been killed, Sarath is facing numerous charges. May be as diplomats these men will not be allowed to open up their mouths. Two men who are posted in Netherlands and Germany are doing a lot of manipulations and getting innocent Tamils being charged. Those countries cannot go against EU. I do not where we Sri Lankans are going to end.

    • Ruwan FErdinandez

      Are you day dreaming or are you sitting on top of Prabha’s balls? If Tamils are innocent as you say, you don;t have to worry. Sri Lanka is on the right path!

      • Umesh

        Ruwan:
        whether they war criminals or terrorist, both are bad for ordinary people. When a country is ruled by war criminals, it can lower its citizens’s morale too.

        • Janith

          @Umesh & Vathy, Your LTTE dream is over. Get over it. Your messiah Prabah is long gone. Support the Rajapaksha. He’s the savior of all of us.

    • Ariya

      Innocent Tamils, eh?

      Who are you trying to cheat???

  5. ASPAIRING DPL

    OUR EFFORTS ARE OF NO USE- WE END AS OFFICE BOYS/////////

  6. Kush

    Can they carry T-56 and other weapons to the UN? This is a stupid question, but without arms and ammunition how can they respond to Ban-Moon on crucial matters.

  7. mark anandappa

    A good move by the H.E. the President. I think we all should respect the decision of the president. We all talk about the people who have been appointed because all of them are from the services. We all knew the military had a duty by the nation to crush the terrorists and achieve peace to all Srilankans which they did successfully. Whatever we are enjoying now is because all these military personnel. It is going to be harder now for them perform the tasks ahead of them in those foreign missions. So as Srilankans we should support them in their future challenges where they will have to defend our country in foreign countries, too. I wish them luck . And thank you Mr President.

    Mark ( Melbourne – Australia)

  8. Johann Gunasekara

    All countries use their overseas missions for intelligence and espionage work.

    To ensure peace and development in SL we need to maintain a high level of intelligence on LTTE and pro LTTE lobbyist in the western world. The most effective way of doing this is to appoint those heroes who defeated the LTTE terrorist to these foreign missions. I believe the imposing of visas too were done for this purpose and should be re-imposed but not to the detriment of tourism.

    Sri Lankans overseas who want lasting peace should support their missions with this most difficult task, lets all be Sri Lankans first and then Sinhalese, Tamils and everything else second

    • Lord

      Johann, presently our enemy is our Government. We were over joyed when LTTE was defeated. Voted for MR to retain his power to guide our economy. But what is happening day in day out is diverting the attention of the we poor masses to various direction then addressing the core issue of developing our nation. We need leaders who are devoted to delvelop the country not their pockets.

  9. simple simon

    These are key embassies. I would prefer seasoned(but not servile and bootlicking diplomats like Kshenuka Seneviratne ) diplomats in key western embassies and the military men as maybe defence attaches or charge de affaires.We could send the military officers to embassies like Pakistan,India, Malaysia,Singapore and the like. The bootlicking, servile attitude of Sinhalese people to Caucasian races like the British,Norweigian etc is a joke and at least the military officers will be firm-this is another side to the argument.

  10. DonP

    According to UNP=SF=Eelam terrorist supporters, its okay to elect SF as the country’s president, while its down right bad ( unprecedented mind you in the history of world diplomacy) to put any other military men in to diplomatic posts.

    This kind of utterly superior intellect must be the reason that all three groups mentioned above are facing extinction

  11. Professional must appoint to foreign service.This is the mistake done by JR.Still continue.

  12. wasaula

    does any one know what psc and ndc mean? military officers are a educated poeple. they have proved by action their managerial capabilities. if you think miliatry officers only knows how to shoot, you are highly mistaken. after all why process is activated in this moment? think about the world order today? also what is the pathatic situation in foriegn service today? better be a military officer there! do not underestimate these officers and comfortably ignore their educational qualifications.

  13. Soussi

    Janith are you going to enjoy balance 50% of excreta with US?

  14. Soussi

    Ohi “AVI GATHTHO AVIEN NASSI”

    This is not history !!! The global order had proved this proverb over and over again. “Astheera Loke Istheera veda pennanda” One fine day MR and the clan have to search their span cloths ohoooo!!! ohoooo!!!

  15. Not sure who the better threat would be.
    To live on with the oarasites like MR and his rogues or the rythless LTTE.

  16. This is all tricks ..Not bcos these fellows deserve the positions.In fact, they , like most other diplomatic and political appointments are all flawed.
    Mahinda will safeguard his interest but ruin our country in all areas, including the diplomatic one.
    Why are the bosses afraid about the allegations of war and human rights crimes.??

  17. Mahinda and stooges are all scared of the war crimes allgations and human rights violations..so they want these fellows to take up DPL positions..As if they can influence such a large and powerful body like the UN..
    But that;s whay our peanut brainers think!!

  18. Samuel

    like key missions such as UN office, London Mission, Germany, government may think of appointing millitary personel to Pakistan, Burma, Brazil as those countries are important to us for arms and millitary equipments imports whenever we are in need of it. The Ambassadors in those countries may be tranferred to middle eastern countries and other countries.

  19. Romsh De Silva

    There are lot of problem and malpractices going on in the London High Commission.High Commissioner’s one servant has been appointed as a receiptionist in the High Commission,another servant is working in the Grocery shop while drawing salary from the High Commission.Both servant are not residing in the Official residence of the high Commissioner but residing in a property belongs to the Govt.The High Commissioner’s wife chased both servants from the official residence as there was a suspision on illegal relationship after the lady servant got a baby..Drivers are working for more than 10 years continously and got British PR, have refused to accept the termination letters and try to stay more.Home Base staff wants to get local jobs in the High Commission to enable them to get British permanent residence like the Drivers..Justice Nihal jayasinghe,the present HC try keep his servants ,Peon,and Drivers in the High Commission using his friendship influance with President.There are lot challenges waiting for the new High Commissioner.Will he solve them?

  20. Asanka

    Why do we need to talk to the Diaspora ? They backed a terrorist who they thought would deliver but he failed. We should hold our heads up high and if the diaspora wants to open discussions we would consider such requests on a case by case basis. But we should never again bow down or accept the dictates of the diaspora or of their western stooges, who were in fact terrorists in the shadows.

  21. Ratna

    Bundula Jayasekera an appointee by MR to the UN was removed after a sex scandal.
    Hope the men who didn’t know to hold their fire will not be able to hold their words when required. More blunders are waiting to happen.

  22. dagobert

    Let them serve with a backbone……………
    They stood by & saved the Country. Give them an opportunity to serve the country overseas.

    K.Suresh…… Its time the Tamils learnt to live and let live.
    Alienating tamils? Who cares / there interest lies elsewhere as they seek opportunity seek greener pastures as you diasspora are ready to pay the cost of their package.
    Further, Tamils are now reduced to about 3% of entire population in SL.
    They now need to tow the line.

    Major Dushan Wijewickreme…. The one who truly won the war sold the Country & the Forces lock stock and barrel blinded by the greed for power. Were you one of those waited invain for an appointment ???

  23. Mahen Ratne

    The countries concerned should check the back ground of these officers for their human rights violations. If the seas can speak they would tell how many bodies were dumped in mid sea by the so called admiral! And who kileed prabakaran 12 year old son? – Prasanna Silva. killing a young boy is not justified. And so many cases are there for chandrasiri as well as shavendra silva. We too are waiting for you to come to these countries!! you can face the consequences.

    • D'Shan

      Well said…

    • JJ

      you are absolutely correct! The officers should not be given any diplomatic positions if they have done inhuman things. To fight a battle against terrorists is a different matter but no one approves of innocent men/women and children being killed just to please a person…. Prabakaran too killed the innocent civilians but capturing his son and killing him was not a done thing Prasanna Silva

    • preethi

      Well said!!

  24. bani

    Exporting war criminals!!

  25. Soussi

    OH ALL CHOOTHIYA’S !

    All these fellows expressing their state of mind always nice. Yet very few directly effected due to the war are talking little. Those who talking too much are the real culprits doing the laundry services of MR clan’s under garments. Why not kneel down in front of the brothers and do a BLOW JOB that way you fellows might be able to secure some Diplomat service in the west on the cost of us.

  26. MOHAMED ASFAR

    please appoint individuals who passed the foreign service exam to diplomatic postings. political appointees are utter failures in this field.

  27. Ilankai Thamizhan

    MY SINHALESE FRIENDS USED TO SAY:
    DPL MEANS “DEEPANG P–A LOKKAATA.”

  28. punchinilame

    Those on the top rungs of Sri Lanka are generally corrupt – mostly money-wise. So
    in Diplomatic posts they will be easily bought-over by the disapora. Their warrior
    mentality in a life-long army career will not be of use in dealing diplomatically with
    their counter-parts, who are mostly made up of professionals.

  29. Mahinda

    No matter who is appointed, the international Human Rights Enquiry will continue and these sinhala non-English speaking murders will be brought to trial. Also don’t waste your time trying to break the diaspora hold, it is a pipe dream. Now get back to your fly infested garbage caves.

  30. I believe that these moves are practical applications of the “Peter Principles”. They look promotions and or reward for thesse military guys. The real point is that the dynasty is getting rid of these veteran guys who have a large support in their own forces and can get together as a threat to the “FAMILY ruling”. The solution? disperse these veterans and appoint puppets in the forces and hold the string. These military guys as ambassadors will be a utter failure and as K.Suresh writes above the military guys will alienate the Sri Lankan Tamils making the division firm.
    BUT WHO CARES. The important thing is that the ‘FAMILY’ must rule and control.

  31. [...] The government has decided to appoint former Navy Commander Wasantha Karannagoda as Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner to the UK, Major General Prasanna Silva as the defence attaché to the High Commission in the UK, Major General G.A. Chandrasiri as the Permanent Representative to the Sri Lankan Mission to the UN in New York, and Major General Shavendra Silva as the Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN in New York. Diplomatic sources, who requested anonymity, told The Sunday Leader that the move to appoint military personnel to key foreign missions was mooted by senior members of the country’s defence establishment……………. read more [...]

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