Commander of the Navy delivers 9th General Deshamanya Dennis Perera Oration

The 9th General Deshamanya Dennis Perera Oration, organized by the Association of Retired Flag Rank Officers (ARFRO), was held at the General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University (KDU) Auditorium on 15th September 2023. At the invitation of ARFRO, the ceremony was presided over by the Commander of the Navy, Vice Admiral Priyantha Perera who also delivered the memorial oration of the annual event.

Upon their arrival the Commander of the Navy and his spouse Mrs Mala Lamahewa was welcomed by the President of ARFRO, Air Chief Marshal Gagan Bulathsinghala (Retd), senior officers of the association and Vice Chancellor of KDU, Rear Admiral Dammika Kumara. Beginning the proceedings of the event, the President of ARFRO made the welcome speech and introduced the Commander of the Navy to the distinguished gathering, for the memorial oration.

Addressing the gathering, the Commander of the Navy gratefully recalled the pioneering work done by General Deshamanya Dennis Perera to establish a Defence Academy by training officers of the three-armed forces together and developing camaraderie and cooperation among them. When he was the eighth (8) Commander of the Sri Lanka Army, the plot of land ‘'Kandawala Wattha' belonging to General Sir John Kotelawala, then Prime Minister of Sri Lanka was utilized to establish this Defence Academy. Adding further, Vice Admiral Priyantha Perera said that he was humbly proud as the Commander of the Navy to be able to deliver the memorial oration for General Deshamanya Dennis Perera, as the first service commander to emerge from the Kotelawala Defense University. Also, he gratefully remembered General Deshamanya Dennis Perera’s invincible contribution to the motherland through his exceptional leadership qualities to bequeath capable officers of the three-armed forces. The Navy Chief also fondly remembered General Deshamanya Dennis Perera's remarkable contributions to the nation, both in his capacity as a diplomatic officer and during his tenure as the Chancellor of KDU for the longest time, following his retirement from military service.

On this occasion, the Commander of the Navy delivered a pertinent address focusing on non-traditional maritime challenges and the evolving dynamics within the ocean, under the theme of ‘GRAY ZONE MARITIME CONFLICT’S OVERSPILL TO INDIAN OCEAN’. He emphasized that in contemporary times, both state and non-state actors worldwide are veering away from conventional face-to-face conflicts of the past. Instead, they leverage advancements in Diplomatic, Information, Military and Economic domains to pursue their objectives and interests to the fullest extent. Vice Admiral Priyantha Perera elucidated these points in a presentation, highlighting how these emerging trends, which transcend traditional diplomatic boundaries, have also encroached upon the Indian Ocean. Adding further, he said that the impact of maritime conflicts occurring in such a background not only affect regional and non-regional states, but also Sri Lanka, an island nation located in a strategically important position in the Indian Ocean, and pointed out it is important for all maritime stakeholders to act collectively to overcome such maritime challenges.

The proceedings of the event drew to a close with the vote of thanks proposed by Air Vice Marshal Kishan Yahampath (Retd), Mrs Ranjini Perera, the beloved wife of late General Deshamanya Dennis Perera, family members, Commander of the Air Force Air Marshal Udeni Rajapaksa, retired and serving senior officers from the tri-services and members of ARFRO were also present on this occasion.