Balagalle is Sri Lanka's Defense Chief of Staff

[TamilNet, Monday, 27 October 2003, 18:12 GMT]
Lieutenant General Lionel Balagalle, Commander of the Sri Lanka Army, Monday assumed duties as the Chief of Defense Staff (CDS) in Sri Lanka, the post that has remained vacant since June last year. Balagalle is the first serving SLA commander to hold the new office, defense ministry sources said.

“Members of the security forces should extend their utmost co-operation to the success of the peace process and at the same time we should also increase the strength of our forces to meet any urgencies,” said Lt. Gen. Balagalle soon after he assumed his new office, military sources said.

As the Chief of Defense Staff, he will head the Joint Operations Headquarters, the unified apparatus of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Police that co-ordinates all operational activities of the security forces, sources said.

A tri-services guard of honor was given to Lt. Gen. Balagalle when he arrived at the Joint Operation Headquarters to assume duties as the CDS. Heads of the Sri Lanka Navy, Sri Lanka Air Force and the Police received him. Thereafter he attended religious observances, sources said.

According to defense ministry press release, Lt. Gen. Balagalle joined the Sri Lanka Army as an Officer cadet on April 5, 1965. He was commissioned Second Lieutenant and posted to the 4th Regiment, Sri Lanka Artillery on April 5, 1967. He has held the posts of General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the 51 Division in Jaffna, Commander of Security Forces in Jaffna, and later in the Vanni.


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