Previous Government did not give priority to national security : President

Speaking to Nitin A. Gokhale, Editor-in-Chief of BharatShakti.in and SNI, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa expressed the following views.

Q: What in your view has happened in these last five years where there has been some slippage?

President: It depends on the policy of the government. Unless you give priority and, in your government’s policy, if national security is not on the priority list then it is down to the lowest level and that’s what happened. The last government did not give enough priority to national security. And also probably they misunderstood the importance of national security to bring economic stability. First, you want to have stability in the country for the locals and the investors to invest. Local businessmen to invest, entrepreneurs to invest, national security is important. So that is what happened during the last five years. Because that government did not give enough attention to the security of this country and other things happened especially on certain investigations on officers who were involved in humanitarian operations that we had. Intelligence is important. That’s starting with SIS—State Intelligence Services. That’s the number 1 civilian establishment. Then you have the military intelligence—the army intelligence directorate, the navy intelligence, and the air force intelligence. But out of that, actually the Directorate of Military Intelligence, that is the intelligence arm of the army was the most experienced intelligence agency. Then you have the CID, that is and the TID, Terrorist Investigation Division. These institutions are more or fewer investigation units. They are good at investigation.

Q: Right. So, post-events they are good, not in anticipating intelligence.

President: Intelligence is a different ball game but the previous government did not give this authority to the military intelligence so they were more or less not involved in even gathering information and liaising and in intelligence they were not involved. Mostly it was the CID and TID and probably SIS. But I should say that they were good in different areas. Not in this. This, not because of anything else but for the last so many years where we had terrorism in this country and anti-terrorism. In that, the major role of intelligence was played by the directorate of military intelligence and also, we train these officers and they have the experience. So, it is difficult immediately to stop that and give it to another. I think that was another reason.

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