11 August 2017

Rwanda: Sri Lankan Military Officers on Study Tour

Photo: Timothy Kisambira/New Times
Rwanda Defence Forces' Air force Chief of Staff Brig Gen Charles Karamba welcomes Col Kithsiri Ekanayake, the head of the visiting Sir Lankan military delegation, to the RDF Headquarters at Kimihurura in Kigali.

A delegation of students and staff from the Sri Lanka Defence Service Command and Staff College is in the country for a two-week geo-strategic international study tour.

After visiting Kigali Genocide Memorial, the 16-person delegation headed to the Ministry of Defence where they were briefed on the roles and functions of Rwanda Defence Forces.

Col. Kithsiri Ekanayake, who led the delegation, explained that Rwanda is a country Sri Lankans need to learn from.

"Both countries have undergone periods of calamities. We heard that Rwanda is progressing well in the process of reconciliation and rebuilding and thought of getting some experience from her. It's a great thing for us as we are also engaging in rebuilding our nation and we hope these lessons will be good ingredients to adopt in our country," he said.

"Rwandan Defence Forces was established right after the 1994 Genocide. Within a period of 23 years, they developed professionally and made unique achievements that we can learn from," he added.

Apart from Rwanda, he said, there are delegations visiting 10 other countries across the world.

Brig. Gen. Fedinand Safari, the Director General of Policy and Strategy at the Ministry of Defence, said the visit will bolster the already smooth cooperation between the militaries of Rwanda and Sri Lanka.

"Sri Lanka is geographically very far from Rwanda but their coming is a sign of good partnership between the two countries. We already have students there and this visit will strengthen our partnership," he said, adding that doors are open "to everyone who wants to learn from us in the same way we also learn from others".

During their two-week stay from August 9-22, the delegation will also visit RDF Command and Staff College to learn about peace support operations as well as other institutions to learn from Rwanda's experience on post-Genocide capacity building and skills development, doing business, air space management, among others.

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