Mar 14, 2017

Army chief goes overseas without appointing new CoS Featured

After recommending six names to the position of chief-of-staff of the Army, its commander Lt. Gen. Krishantha de Silva this morning (14) left for Nepal on an official visit.

He is due back on March 19.

The CoS position fell vacant following the retirement of Maj. Gen. Channa Gunatilake on March 09.

The Army chief has made no special mention of any of the Major Generals recommended to succeed Gunatilake, who are Boniface Perera, Upul Withanage, Sudantha Ranasinghe, Mahesh Senanayake, Janaka Walgama and Udaya Perera in order of their seniority.

He has instructed military secretary Maj. Gen. Priyantha Jayasuriya to send the file of the recommended officers to the defence secretary.

Previously, when CoS Maj. Gen. Milinda Peiris retired and the position remained vacant, the Army commander had gone on an official visit to India, and the president appointed Maj. Gen. Ubhaya Medawala to the position.

Senior major generals are vying for the CoS position which is a top qualification to become commander of the Army.

Internal power struggle
The internal power struggle is evident from the Lt. Gen. de Silva’s having sent six names, whereas the tradition was to recommend only one name.

The president makes the appointment in consideration of the recommendations by the Army commander and the defence secretary.

President Maithripala Sirisena has previously filled the position on the basis of seniority.

Maj. Gen. Boniface Perera is the most senior officer, while Maj. Gen. Mahesh Senanayake is the most senior major general.

Several religious leaders have asked the president to appoint the former to the position, while several ministers have requested that the latter be given the position, say presidential secretariat sources.