Growing Chinese influence in Indian Ocean no threat:Lankan army chief

"There is no threat to any country in the Indian sub-continent from the growing influence of China in the waters of Indian Ocean. It is a wrong belief", Jayasuriya told reporters after reviewing the Passing Out Parade (POP) at the Indian Military Academy (IMA) here.

Regarding India, he said military cooperation between India and Sri Lanka is increasing and armies of the two countries are cooperating with each other in several areas including the field of training.

In this regard, he pointed out that 120 Sri Lankan officers have so far received training in the IMA. He said he also plans to meet Chief of Army Staff Gen V K Singh during his current visit.

On LTTE, Jayasuriya said LTTE in Sri Lanka has been compeletely decimated but admitted its symphathisers do exist in other countries.

"LTTE has been decimated militarily but they do have symphathisers in international diaspora", he said. However, he said it is no more a military threat.

Asked about Tamilians uprooted from the island nation during Sri Lankan army's operation against LTTE, the Sri Lankan army chief said the situation has now become "normal" and people have started coming back to their places.

The Sri Lankan government is also undertaking rehabilitation work in affected areas, he added.

Lt Gen Jayasuriya is the first commander of Sri Lankan army who reviewed the POP of IMA. He said he is feeling honoured by reviewing the parade.

Earlier, addressing the cadets, Lt Gen Jayasuriya thanked the government of India for choosing him to create history as he is the first commander of the Lankan army to review the parade at IMA. "This magnanimous gesture reflects the strong bonds our armies share," he said.

Congratulating the cadets, he said that during their stay at the academy, "the mentors would have endeavoured to broaden  knowledge base, develop necessary skills and help build your character."

"These are the three pillars on which the entire philosophy of your training is built so that you pass out from this academy as competent and confident young officers ready to shoulder the responsibilities the stars on your shoulders bestow on you," he said.

Lt Gen Jayasuriya said "your task as a leader is quite onerous and challenging. At times, your passions and emotions may pull you in one direction, while your duty may call upon you to take a totally different course. The outcome of the battle against such strong feelings determines the leadership acumen or the lack of it in any commander."

He said though a conceptual understanding of leadership is necessary in its own right, it must be remembered that, in effect, leadership does not exist in a vacuum.

The leader is required to lead a group towards a goal in a situation, he added.

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