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SRI LANKA

Introduction

1. The Commandant, members of the faculty


and gentleman, good morning (aswala malaqum).
Being proud sons of ‘Mother Lanka’, today, we
are privileged enough to steer you, through our
country within this short span of time. Hence, we
have condensed our self to cut a long story short
in order to meet the necessity with honour and
dedication.

2. Gentleman, let us present you a land with a


documented history dating over 550 years BC, a
land that survived in peace and harmony in a
mighty region through genuine diplomacy, a land
with a people, who wish you “AYUBOVAN” which
means may you be blessed with long life. The
same people, brave enough, to express
themselves before the world and lend the
helping hand to all when needed; Gentleman,

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Welcome to our Island of Paradise: a land and


people like no other; Sri Lanka.
3. Sri Lanka is an island located north of the
equator between latitudes 5º and 10º and
longitudes 79º and 82º. Nested 35 km off the
Southern tip of India, Sri Lanka possesses a
total land area of 65,610 Sq.kms. Its strategic
location, serene beauty and uniqueness made her
gaining prominence in the history, making great
explorers and traders busy in compiling their
diaries.

“Sihala Dweepa” or the ‘Land of Sinhalese’, as,


she was known after her first major settlers, in
the year 543 BC. Sri Lanka in the pages of
history as the “Taprobane” to Greeks and
Romans, “Serendib” to Arabs, “Ceilao” to
Portuguese, “Seelan” to Dutch, and “Ceylon” to
British. Since the gaining of independence in
1948, it became “Democratic Socialist Republic
of Srilanka. Despite being overwhelmed with one
of the most ruthless forms of terrorism, Sri
Lanka has managed, to be a useful contributor to

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the world, providing a happy and contended life


to her people, extending a warm hospitality
to her guests, and more importantly, facing the
future with that all so unique “Sri Lankan Smile”.

Aim

4. To give you a brief background of my


motherland, Democratic Socialist Republic of
Srilanka.

Sequence

a. The Land.

(1) Terrain.
(2) Water resources.
(3) Climate.

b. The People.

(1) History.

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(2) The Colonial Rule.


(3) Ethnicity.
(4) The National Flag.
(5) National Flower and Tree.
(6) The Government.
(7) Education
(8) Health.
(9) Sports.
(10)Economy.
(11) Internal Conflict.
(12) Sri Lanka – Pakistan Relationship.

c. Attractions.

(1) Sun and Sand.


(2) Nature and Adventure
(3) World Heritage Sites.
(4) Shopping.
(5) Handicraft.
(6) Festivals of Interest.
(7) Gastronomy.

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d.The Defence.
e. Documentary Film.

f. Conclusion.

6. The Land.

a. Terrain. The bio-diversity present in


the land mass of Sri Lanka is truly
astonishing. You may pick and choose your
own preference, the coast line provides,
beautiful palm fringed beaches, the rugged
hill country is sated with lakes, water falls
and peaks,
There are the mountain forests, tropical rain
forests, rivers, grass lands, nature parks and
reserves. Such variety in the absence of
natures hazards such as volcanic eruptions,
earthquakes, landslides and climatic
extremes make Sri Lanka a passionate and
mostly desired destination, for holiday
makers the world over.

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b. Water Sources. The entire country is


of arable land with 13 full up rivers
traversing its length and breadth, filling up
over 12000 natural and man-made tanks. The
longest of them, the Mahaweli, travels a
distance of 358 km and like her sisters, the
Kelani, Kalu and Walaway feeds the land and
people with pure fresh water. They also
enable us in producing mostly wanted hydro
electricity.
The spring’s nourishes the rivers at the
central hills flow with abundance due to rains
brought in by the North Eastern and South
Western Monsoons throughout the year.

c. Climate. Sri Lanka possesses a


tropical and equatorial climate, influenced by
elevation above the sea level. The diurnal
and seasonal variation in temperature is
slight. The temperature in low country, at
sea level, varies from 22oC – 32oC and in the
central massif at the highest elevation
records a variation from 8oC – 20oC. South

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Western monsoon brings rain from mid May –


October while the northeast monsoon does
so from December – March. Climatically the
country is divided into wet and dry zones due
to uneven rainfall. The wet zone comprises
the South Western part of the country while
the remainder belongs to the dry zone.
Annual average precipitation in the wet zone
is 250cm centimetres and in the dry zone it
varies from 120cm-190 centimetres.
The varying climatic condition in the country
has been the major tourist attraction over
the years.

7. The People Sri Lankans are renowned for


their kind hospitality and cheerfulness from the
known days of history. Being a nation with
Buddhist influence which revolves around
“Ahimsa” or peace to all concept, Sri Lankans are
found to be peace loving and sober in nature.

a. History. Apart from being mentioned


in the “Ramayana”, a historical document of

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ancient India, Sri Lankan history is recorded


in two other great chronicles, which, are
maintained by members of the Buddhist
Clergy even today. The “Chulawamsa” and
“Mahawamsa” carrying pages in Ola Leaf,
have entries made in 543 BC, narrating the
arrival of Prince Vijaya and his entourage of
Indo-Aryans from ancient Bengal present
Bangladesh and the formation of the first
kingdom in Sri Lanka.
. b. The Colonial Rule. During the 15 th
century there were 3 kingdoms in Sri Lanka
called Kotte, Jaffna and Kandyan Kingdoms.
But then the country was under the
influence of European powers from 1500 AD
onwards. The chronological display is as
flashed:

a. Portuguese - 1597 to 1658.

b. Dutch - 1658 to 1815.

c. British – 1815 to 1948.

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Portuguese who arrived in the island in 15


November 1505 created cordiality with the
king ruled the Kotte Kingdom. By 1540 AD
their treachery had been succeeded and
amidst heavy resistances Portuguese took
over the control of most parts of the
country. However, the Sinhalese continuously
resisted the Portuguese rule. In 1619, the
Dutch landed in Sri Lanka
to help the Sinhalese Majesty remained in
the kandyan Kingdom to evict the Portuguese
from home soil. After 20 years’ ferocious
battle the Hollanders managed to expel the
Portuguese and continued ruling the coastal
areas until they surrender themselves to the
British in 1796.

Portuguese, Dutch and British military


continuously attacked the Kandyan Kingdom
several occasions but the Kandyan Army
fought fiercely and made heavy
human/material losses for their armies. No

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colonial power managed to defeat the mighty


Kandyans, until the Sinhalese Nobles who
hated the last Kandyan King handed it over
to British in 1815. Thereafter Sri Lanka won
its independence in 4th Feb 1948. However,
the colonial influence in the country resulted
in the introduction of western education,

legal system based on Roman Dutch Law,


plantation based economy and an extensive
railway network along with sports like
Cricket and Rugby Football.

c. Ethnicity. Sinhalese are the major


ethnic group in the country. They are the
descendants of the colonization of Indo
Aryans and the original inhabitants in the
country. They speak “Sinhala”, a language
derived from ancient “Pali” and “Sanskrit”.
The other major communities present in Sri
Lanka are the Tamils, descendants of Indo-
Dravidian invaders, who speak “Tamil” the

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language of Southern India, Muslims,


descendants of early Arab traders, the
majority of whom speak “Sinhala”, and
Burghers, descendants of European invaders.
Both, “Sinhala” and “Tamil” are official
languages whilst “English”, being used
regularly as the secondary language. The
great Philosophy of Buddhism is the practice
of the majority,
whilst other religions such as Hinduism,
Islam, and all forms of Christianity, too,
attract a considerable amount of followers.

d. The National Flag. The Sri Lankan


National Flag amply describes the multi-
ethnic, multi religious and multi-lingual
society that seeks peaceful living within the
nation as well as with others like her. The
four leaves are of the sacred “Bo” tree and
represent Love, Compassion, Sympathy and
Equanimity in keeping with the Philosophy of
Buddhism. The red colour portrays the
religious harmony, The Lion depicts the

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Sinhalese, and colours of Green and Orange


represent the Muslims and Tamils whilst the
Sword portrays the Sovereignty.

e. National Flower and Tree. The


National Flower of the country is the Blue
Lotus, botanically known as “Nympheae
Stellata” and was declared the National
Flower of Sri Lanka on 1986.
The National tree is Naa, botanically known
as “Mesua Nagassarium” was adopted as the
National Tree of Sri Lanka on the same day.

f. Government. The Democratic,


Socialist, Republic of Sri Lanka has its own
unique form of governance. The three main
organs, of government, namely, the
Legislature, Executive and Judiciary, are
designed to function independently, ensuring
justice, to all. A vote bank of 12 million has
the right to appoint 225 representatives in
to the country’s Parliament. The same vote
bank also elects the Executive President,

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who, from within the Parliament, elects the


Prime Minister and Cabinet Ministers.
Present president is Mr Mahinda Rajapakse
whilst Mr Rathnasiri Wickramanayake
functions office as the Prime Minister.
Administration is de-centralised, into 8
provincial councils. They are as shown on the
screen.The country’s Judiciary consists of
the Magistrate’s Court, the District Court,
the High Court the Court of Appeal and the
Supreme Court, the highest organ for justice
in Sri Lanka.

g. Education. A well educated population is


a greatest achievement for the country;
hence, it is the foremost in her national
policy. Primary, secondary and tertiary
education is completely free, which, includes
texts, clothing and a mid-day meal, provided
for all government schools. Such facilities
and a law that prosecutes guardians of
children not being sent to school, has,
facilitated to enjoy a literacy rate as high as

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98%, one out of the best in the world and


particularly the best within the region.

h. Health. The life expectancy of an


average Sri Lankan is approximately 73
years. Hence the service of an individual is
expected till 55 years.

Consideration has been made to increase the


retirement age up to 65 years to obtain the
experience of the senior citizens and to
ensure continuous flow of service to the
populace.This is a result of the population
being privy to an effective and free, health
service provided by the government,
through, a network of district and teaching
hospitals.

i. Sports. Sri Lankans are sports lovers.


Almost all kinds of sports are played in Sri
Lanka. Many Sri Lankan sportsmen and
women have become prominent in world
athletes field. Susanthika Jayasinhe won the

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women’s 200 m in World Athletic


Championship in 1998, Apart from her,
Damayanthi Darsha Sugath Thialakaratne,
Sriyani Kulawansa in Athletics, Chinthana
Vidanage in Weight Lifting and Mayumi
Rahim in Swimming also brought victories to
Sri Lanka in many events.
Even though, our National Game is Volleyball
Cricket is a passion of the population. It is a
part of our life. We take pride in our national
cricket team who figure amongst the best in
the world. We won the world cup once and
the attempt made to repeat the same was
very sadly missed in this year. Sri Lanka also
excels in the fields of rugby and athletics
particularly in the Asian Region.

j. Economy. Sri Lanka is experiencing an


agriculture based economy. In addition we
remain as one of the finest tea producers in
the world. Rubber and coconut and related
products are also plays an important role in
economy. Other exports include precious and

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semi-precious stones, handicraft, wide


variety of spices, versatile array of
garments, high quality ceramics and a diverse
collection of seafood. Sri Lankan Rupee is
the official currency of the state. Being a
pioneer who introduced the free market
policy in this part of the world,
Sri Lanka, is benefited by becoming a service
provider, in fields such as, dry dock facilities
for commercial shipping, handling of sea and
air cargo, banking, insurance, tourism and in
Information Technology too. Despite being
burdened with a cursed war which incur a
heavy toll over the economic gains. Sri Lanka
manages to maintain a modest, annual
economic growth rate of 6% with a fitting
per capita income of US $ 1160. However,
there may be a possibility to accelerate this
in very near future. Gentleman we have been
blessed with an oil field that may contain 1
billion barrels of crude around Gulf of
Mannar. China has agreed to exploit two

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blocks out of the five in the Mannar basin.


Sri Lanka will seek bids to develop three
remaining areas and the Licenses will be
awarded in early 2008. So, we have positive
hopes for future.

k. Internal Conflict Gentlemen, now,


let me dedicate some time for those
hundreds of parents who lost their children,
for those thousands of children who lost
their fathers, for those wives who lost their
husbands and for those young people became
disabled during the endeavour to safeguard
the territorial integrity of my motherland.
Regret me for taking you along a bitter and
horrible story of terrorism in my country. It
is a story that has retarded prosperity and
sown hatred and sorrow to all communities
whom lived with brotherly affection. Many
introduces it as a mishandling of divisive
policies derived from the colonial regimes,
and many witness it as an outcome of the

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support extended by an unscrupulous


neighbour to marshal some of our family
members to rebel for a separate state
within this tiny island, which is not fare by
any means. Gentlemen, it is the rise of blood
thirsty terrorism within this ever peaceful
country.
The foremost demand of these elements
would amply explain why the peace-loving Sri
Lankans were made to hold arms. They seek
45% of the land for a fraction of the Tamil
population; land that includes three of the
five sea ports, and 75% of the Exclusive
Economic Zone with rights to all its marine
resources. This long drawn out conflict has
resulted death to more than 61000 people
whilst 100000 being maimed, bringing deep
sorrow to their parents, wives and children
whilst driving tens of thousands to refugee
camps. Continuous efforts are being made in
earnest to resolve the conflict through
political means, but due to the extensive
support gained from regional Big Brother

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most became ineffective. Heartfelt


blessings and the unquestioned support of
genuine friends with brotherly affection are
the hopes to bring peace alive in this peace
loving island.

l. Sri Lanka – Pakistan Relations. Sri


Lanka maintains a very cordial relationship
with Pakistan from early days. During 1971
Indo-Pakistan War, Sri Lanka provided
refuelling facilities in Colombo for PAF
aircrafts amidst serious objections from
India. At the same time Sri Lankans’ never
forget the assistance given by late Gen Zia
Ul Haq, in the form of military hardware,
ammunition and training teams during Sri
Lanka’s crisis situation. We have built a
hospital in commemoration of this
affectionate friend. Further, Sri Lanka
remains the major eye donating nation for
Pakistan. In addition, the assistance
extended by both the countries during the

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relief operations of 2004 tsunami and 2005


earthquake further tied up the links. Apart
from that the bi-lateral trade agreement
between two nations exceeds a healthy rate
as US $ 925 million worth and expected to
be accelerated in future.
Gentleman We the Sri Lankans never forget
the friends who helped us during crisis.

8. Attractions This country is a “Fantasy


Island” by design, promising to satisfy, the most
demands of a tourist with limitless tantalizing
attractions.

a. World Heritage Sites. The


sociable coexistence of culture and
civilisation throughout our affluent legend
has made us to be proud of our history. With
the introduction of the Buddhist philosophy
in 247 BC, the socio - cultural behaviour of
the people was changed dramatically. It
overtly leads to the Cultural Revolution
which denoted the beginning of a golden era

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for the country. Sri Lanka has no less than


seven, world heritage sites declared by the
UNESCO.

‘Sigiriya’, a rock citadel built in 5th century


situated in the city of Anuradhapura, was a
fortress of a king namely Kashyapa, which
entails all prerequisites to be named as the
eighth wonder in the world. Modern science
is yet to discover the technology which fed
the water-ponds at the top of the rock
which is approximately 500 meters in height.
The frescoes of the ‘heavenly maidens
halfway up the rock in a sheltered gallery,
are the only painted renderings of a secular
subject in this country. It is also the venue
to Asia’s oldest surviving landscaped garden,
executed in absolute symmetry, which is
considered as an impossible feat, during the
Mesolithic period.

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Secondly, the Sacred City of Anuradhapura


was also the capital of the Island in 5th
century BC. Numerous palaces and places of
Buddhist worship stand testament to ensure
the flourishing civilisation, triangulated
around the Tank, Temple, and a bountiful of
Harvest. The sacred ‘Sri Maha Bodhi’ is the
oldest, historically documented tree, in the
world gifted by emperor Ashoka of India
over 2500 years ago. This is a sapling, of the
original tree that was at ‘Buddha Gaya’ which
provided shelter to Lord Buddha in attaining
the enlightenment, which, sadly no longer
exists. Amongst the numerous ‘Dagabas’ or
pagodas in Anuradhapura, the
‘Jethawanaramaya’; built in 3rd century, is
larger than the Egypt’s third largest
pyramid, the ‘Isa’, occupying 8 acres of land

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at the base. The ‘Royal City’ of Kandy was


the proud capital of mighty Kandyan Kingdom
in 15th century.

Occupying centre stage is the Temple of the


‘Sacred Tooth Relic’ of ‘Lord Buddha’, one of
the very few, tangible remains of worship,
for Buddhists around the globe.

b. Sun and Sea. 1600km of coast


provide virgin beaches of ‘par-excellence’,
with all imaginable living and entertainment
facilities. Be it on the sands, on the surf, or
in water, Sri Lanka, will truly offer you, a
‘sun and sea’ experience, of a life-time.

c. Nature and Adventure. Nature


reservation is one of the prime
considerations of our people. Hence, we have
been able to preserve over 30 % of the land
as natural forests and reserves within this
tiny little island. The concept of ‘Eco
Tourism’ introduced to the country, during

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the past decade or so, has let the man, to


enjoy the beauty of nature, with no expense
to the environment.
Check yourself in, to the large numbers of
‘Eco Friendly’ hotels and lodges and
experience the entire gamut of nature’s
appeals within a few hours of each other;
sights that could only be matched by
travelling across continents. Numerous are
the rolling meadows, jagged rock faces,
verdant valleys, meandering rivers, cascading
waterfalls, and dense forests. All this and a
hospitable people is what makes Sri Lanka
one of the best destinations for adventure
tourism. Mountain biking, mountain climbing,
rafting, rappelling, canyoning and ballooning,
are a few of what appeals. If it is a movie
lover, he would be eager to visit the sites
that were home to world recognized movies
such as ‘Bridge on the River Kwaai’, ‘Jungle
Book’, ‘Indiana Jones’, ‘Mother Teresa’ and
many more.

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d. Shopping. Having gone through most


of fascinates in my island Now, I feel it is
the most appropriate time for a commercial.
This is not a kind which you witness in the
media but to draw your attention for your
targeted area of interest. Gentleman let me
make you aware of the versatility of
shopping in Sri Lanka. It is proved to be an
excelling experience by its own. The cosy
hide-outs for shopping in all major cities will
surely make you lose the track of time, if not
your bank accounts. You’ll find designer
clothing at ‘dirt cheap’, exclusive batiks in
cotton and silk, both costume and gold or
silver jewellery, the worlds best brands of
leather goods, accessories, cosmetics; in
short, all that you would ever need.

e. Handicraft. Sri Lanka is also famous


for its handicraft. Intricate designs in wood,

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bronze, brass, silver or gold may prove too


much to resist. You will like it.

f. Festivals of Interest. The rich and


diverse culture of Sri Lanka gives rise to a
multitude of festivals all through the year.
The ‘pomp and pageantry’ associated with
ceremonies at the Temple housing, the Tooth
Relic of Lord Buddha could be the most
attractive. Over 300 elephants decorated in
beautiful costumes join the parade all over
the streets in Kandy along with thousands of
traditional dancers. The Sinhala and Tamil
New Year, the “Vesak” Festival of the
Buddhists, Eid, Christmas and all other
common religious festivals are Public
Holidays, and days that are celebrated, at
the grandest possible style.

g. Gastronomy. Having got tired after a


long drawn journey, you may wish to refresh
yourself, and then there couldn’t be a better
place. Be it the Sri Lankan traditional rice

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and curry which is hot in taste or any


western/eastern menus that you wish the
dish will reach you in a jiffy again at a very
reasonable price. Furthermore exotic sea
foods, to be particular the lobster, crab,
prawn and fish dishes may undoubtedly be
cheaper than they appear. If one wish to
have delicious “ Sheikh Kebabs or Chicken
Tandoori” other than in Pakistan, all of them
could be found in many Pakistani restaurants
in Colombo.

9. Security Forces Executive President of


the country is the Supreme Commander of
Security Forces. Directly under him is the Chief
of Defence Staff, a Four Star General or
equivalent is placed. He is the head of the Joint
Operations Headquarters which is meant to
achieve the integration of armed forces and
police in Sri Lanka.

a. Army. The Sri Lanka Army is


commanded by a Lieutenant General. The

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strength is approximately 118,000. in


addition around 10,000 in reserve.
We have nine Infantry Divisions with a
Brigade each of Armour, Artillery,
Engineers, Signals, Special Forces and
Commandos as well as other Service units.
There are 23 Regiments being formed to be
sustained as an Army fighting in a law
intensity environment. We also have a
Women’s Corps with an approximate strength
of 3000 allowing the brave women to take
part in the national defence force. Due to
the exemplary conduct as a disciplined Army
we were provided with an opportunity to take
part in the United Nations Peace Keeping
Mission in “Haiti” since year 2004 with
approximately 950 troops under the United
Nations flag.

b. Navy. The Sri Lanka Navy is


commanded by a Vice Admiral and has
strength of approximately 30,000.

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The deployment is as shown on the screen.


Their primary task being to protect
territorial waters the fleet consists of sub-
chasers, fast attack craft, gun boats
hovercraft and other transport vessels.
They plays a dominant role as the first line
of defence providing sea surveillance and
hindering the flow of illegal arms supply to
the LTTE in deep and close waters.

c. Air Force. Any Ground or Naval force


can not be tasked in isolation; hence the
requirement of an air support is of utmost
importance in a national defence. For that
matter we have a comparatively smaller Air
Force which is commanded by an Air vice
Marshal and has a strength of approximately
20000. Air Force bases are deployed on the
locations as shown on the screen. It has F-
7s, MIG-27s, KFIRs, PUCARAs and MI-24s
for close air support and Hercules C-130,
Aotonov-32, Y-8, Y-12, MI-17 Bell 212 and
412 as carriers.

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To augment the reconnaissance and


surveillance capabilities we are in possession
of few UAV’s too.

10. DOCUMENTARY FILM

11. Conclusion

Be it a palace with more than whole


May be a kingdom with full of all,
Perhaps the heaven with fancy of all,
It’s Sri Lanka, the best of all…………

1. This beautiful island referred to as the


“pearl of the Indian ocean” belongs to the
SAARC region. The Sri Lankan with a
distinguished heritage over 2500 years are
reputed the world over for their hospitality. The
ever pleasant smile on their faces evidently
proves it everywhere. Before winding up let us
convey profound gratitude to the school
authorities allowing us to present my motherland
for this distinguished forum and lt me our

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special thanks to Sponsor DS(MCC) Major


Waquas
Sponsor Officer Maj Rizvi for assisting us to
make it a reality. We have another two to three
months to say goodbye! But hope we will meet
again some day, some place since the world is too
small for those who have bigger hearts like you and
me. HAM AAPKE YE MEHMAN NAWASEE KO BULA NAHI
SAKENGE and “AYUBOVAN” for you, “AYUBOVAN” to
School of Infantry and Tactic and “AYUBOVAN” PAKISTAN
the best ever friend of Sri Lanka.

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