The task of soldiers will be to be dedicated for development stated President Mahinda Rajapaksa stressing that their expertise is needed in many sectors. He also cautioned political parties not to cause disharmony that would undermine the country’s future.
He made these remarks while addressing the nation at the celebrations organised to mark two years of ending the war. “We did not confine you to barracks after the end of the humanitarian operation. We gave you an important role to play in the task of rebuilding our motherland. From the Foreign Service to the beautifying of Colombo City, war heroes contribute immensely for the betterment of this country,” he said.
Urging all people to build bonds between communities Rajapaksa sent a strict warning to political parties. “I emphasise to all political parties and groups that it will do no good to reopen the healing wounds, to continue to dig up the past, and creating disharmony and hatred among people will be of no benefit.”
The expertise of the army is important for development, Rajapaksa observed adding, “You who shed your blood for this country, are today toiling for the development process of the country. Your discipline and the commitment have placed a high demand for your services in many sectors. There is a truth we have to tell the world. We did not build Armed Services to invade countries. What we have is an Armed Force committed to rebuild the country with utmost commitment to the people.”
Reiterating the point that the end of the war has brought prosperity to the country, particularly the north and east the President insisted that unity was the way forward. “To make the sacrifice made by war heroes more meaningful, we have to build a great future for people to live in harmony. We have shown to the world that we are capable of doing so. The best answer to those who ask what benefits the people received with the end of the war, is to respond by showing the development both in the North and South today. The economic growth rate in the country in 2007 was 6.8%.
But after the end of the war, we have achieved an economic growth rate of 8%. The current growth rate in the north is 14.2%. The unemployment rate has come down from 6% to 4.9%.”
War celebrations do not hurt any community, claimed Rajapaksa pointing out that it is the responsibility of every citizen to preserve the bonds between ethnicities. “The best way to meet our future challenges is to strengthen national unity. Today we do not hear a single incident of communal disharmony in this country. Two years ago, we celebrated the victory over terrorism without hurting the feelings of any community.”