Navy proudly takes part in 73rd National Independence Day celebrated with grandeur
The main ceremony of 73rd National Independence Day under the theme ‘A Wealthy Tomorrow - Prosperous Motherland’ was held in a dignified sequence at the Independence Square, Colombo this morning (04th February 2021). The apex of the this year’s ceremony was headed by the President of Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, His Excellency Gotabaya Rajapaksa and the annual national spectacle was coloured by Sri Lanka Navy, filled with great pride.
The proceedings of the ceremony formally got to a start with the hoisting of National Flag by His Excellency the President. Upholding the customs and traditions involved in the hoisting of the National Flag, naval personnel of the Communication Branch made all ceremonial arrangements ready for the magisterial hoisting of the National Flag. To coincide with the flag hoisting, the National Anthem was sung to the music played by Sri Lanka Navy’s Oriental Orchestra.
The cynosure of all eyes was the smart parade which was featured by 50 naval officers and 836 sailors in 06 divisions as well as Sri Lanka Navy’s Mechanized Column. Representing the Sri Lanka Navy, Commodore Isira Kasiwatta was mounted on the pilot vehicle, leading the parade.
As spirit of patriotism echoing in every nook and corner, in today’s parade the Naval Ensign was carried by Lieutenant Commander Dimuthu Thisera, along with officers carrying 06 President’s Colours conferred to the Navy, naval squadrons, commands and establishments as well as Command Flags, amidst rhythmic beating of drums by Navy band. Meanwhile, this magnificent naval component was commanded by Commander Sudesh Chinthaka.
Being the only sea-going force in the country, Sri Lanka Navy that has been entrusted with performing the military, diplomatic and constabulary roles pertinent to a navy, reflected a cross section of it prowess and exhibited its opulence on the 73rd National Independence Day, making the day’s proceedings more flamboyant.
As the first naval squadron of the parade, the Naval Headquarters division commanded by Lieutenant Commander Naleen Jayathilake marched down the streets and it was followed by the Naval Fleet Command division led by Lieutenant Commander Vithanage Nisanka. The Naval Fleet Command division also comprised the teeth arm of Sri Lanka Navy, 04th Fast Attack Flotilla which was once commanded by incumbent Commander of the Navy, Vice Admiral Nishantha Ulugetenne. Next in line was the Special Boat Squadron division commanded by Lieutenant Commander Rajitha Karunarathna. The Special Boat Squadron lives by the motto of ‘Fortune Favours the Brave’ was first established in 1993 and it encompasses combatants who could brave sea, air and land alike.
Meanwhile, the Rapid Action Boat Squadron division commanded by Lieutenant Commander Deekshitha Dharmasena joined the parade next. Established in 2007 the Rapid Action Boat Squadron operates in littoral waters remaining true to their motto ‘Victory beyond the Infinity’. Further, the Navy Marine division of today’s parade was commanded by Lieutenant Commander Lasith Chamara. Established in 2016, Navy Marines are known to be pros in amphibious operations, in conformity with the motto ‘Vigour, Valour, Victory’. Next in line in the colourful parade was the Navy Women’s division representing all branches, headed by Lieutenant Commander Pradeepa Rathnayake.
Up next, the extravagant military parade set the stage for Sri Lanka Navy’s Mechanized Column and other hardware rolled down the boulevard of iconic Independence Square, commanded by Commander Meepage Kumara. Joining next was the vehicle with the 30mm American made Bush Master gun which has the maximum range of 16km on surface with Multi sensor Stabilized Integrated System ( MSIS).
It was followed by the vehicle carrying Chinese made 37mm Gun, with maximum range of 10km on surface and 7.2km in air, fitted onboard Fast Gun Boats and Offshore Patrol Vessels. Joining next was the vehicle displaying 14.5mm, 23mm and 25mm guns made in China and Bulgaria. These guns fitted onboard Fast Attack Craft, Fast Gun Boats and Offshore Patrol Vessels boast of maximum range of 3400m to 7500m on surface as well as 1500m to 2800m in air.
In addition, Sri Lanka Navy divers, who provide diving training to Special Forces of sister services and undertake wide-ranging underwater operations, were on display in their professional gear as well as the diving chamber, mounted on the next vehicle on the move.
The succeeding vehicle in the parade was displaying Cedric Boats used by Special Boat Squadron and Rapid Action Boat Squadron. Beginning from 2006, Navy has indigenously built 150 Cedric Boats and has sold them to foreign countries since 2016. The parade also witnessed the Wave Rider Craft indigenously made by Sri Lanka Navy, signing on the boat building industry. Commencing from 2008, Navy has been producing craft of similar type and has provided them for overseas buyers.
The 73rd National Independence Day celebrations brought together a galaxy of distinguished guests including the Prime Minister, Hon. Mahinda Rajapaksa, former President, Hon. Maithripala Sirisena, Speaker of Parliament, Leader of Opposition, Minister of Irrigation and State Minister of National Security, Home Affairs and Disaster Management, Hon. Chamal Rajapaksa, Ministers, Members of Parliament, Admiral of the Fleet, Wasantha Karannagoda, Governor of Western Province, Marshal of the Air Force, Roshan Goonetileke, Secretary of Defence, General (Retd.) Kamal Gunaratne, Chief of Defence Staff and Commander of the Army, General Shavendra Silva, Commander of the Navy, Vice Admiral, Nishantha Ulugetenne, Commander of the Air Force, Air Marshal, Sudarshana Pathirana, Inspector General of Police, Chandana Wickramarathna members of the diplomatic corps and government officials were also present on this august occasion.