The Colombo Air Symposium 2016, organized by the Sri Lanka Air Force was held on the 1st and 2nd December 2016 at the Eagle’s Lakeside Banquet and Convention Hall, Aththidiya. The Secretary to the Ministry of Defence, Eng. Karunasena Hettiarachchi was the Chief Guest and Keynote Speaker at the Symposium which was attended by a broad cross section of military and civilian academics, public service officials, and members of the diplomatic community.
The theme of the symposium was “Air Power in the context of Regional Defence and Security”.
Delivering the opening remarks
, the Commander of the Air Force, Air Marshal Kapila Jayampathy spoke of the importance airpower in ensuring the security of the region as well as in serving as a stabilizing influence for regional relations and cooperation. He spoke of the need for an integrated South Asian initiative to protect vital sea routes, Indian Ocean trade and mutual economic interest, of Sri Lanka’s aspirations for a blue economy, and of reassuring the region with maritime policing with enhanced search and rescue capabilities and spoke of how he believed that the theme of this year’s symposium was validated the context.
Speaking at the event Secretary Hettiarachchi said that in responding to a security threat, air assets in a nation remain a prime choice due to its inherent advantage of height, speed and reach. As we have seen, be it a direct military threat, a natural or man-made disaster, the first to reach and respond is the air assets, he highlighted.
Concluding his speech, Secretary Hettiarachchi congratulated the Commander and all the men and women of the Sri Lanka Air Force for conducting a successful symposium. He also expressed his gratitude towards foreign participants, who visited the country to share their wisdom and knowledge.
Speaking as the guest speaker, former Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy, Admiral Jayanath Colombage spoke of the parallels between the concepts of sea power and air power and of the importance of the air dimension in the control of the maritime domain.
The symposium was also attended by the Chief of Defence Staff, the Commander of the Navy, Senior officers of the three services, Senior Public officials from the ministries, representatives of neighbouring and allied nations, members of the media as well as many other distinguished invitees.