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Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa

A brave son of Ananda

President Mahinda Rajapaksa's exemplary political leadership led to the magnificent victory achieved by the Security Forces just two months ago. One of the main factors that helped achieve this victory was undoubtedly the dynamic role played by his brother Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, the Defence Secretary, an old Anandian. He was in a unique position as he was trusted 100 percent by the Commander-in-Chief and the Forces Commanders. Being a battle-hardened soldier himself, he understood the priorities of the Commanders and the soldiers and ensured that they received all required facilities. The Nation will forever be grateful to this valiant son of Ananda for his pivotal role in the war effort. Rajapaksa assumed duties as Secretary, Ministry of Defence, Public Security, Law & Order on 25th November 2005.

A career soldier, Rajapaksa joined the Sri Lanka Army in 1971, spent twenty years in service, and held the appointment of Deputy Commandant of Sir John Kotelawala Defence University in 1991 and, as a Lieutenant Colonel was Coordinating Officer of Welioya area from 1990 to 1991. Prior to that, he was the Coordinating Officer of Matale District and the Commanding Officer of the 1st Battalion, Gajaba Regiment from 1989 to 1990. He has also held numerous other positions in the Sri Lanka Army such as Instructor, Adjutant, and Staff officer to the Operations Officer commanding contingents.

During his military career, Mr. Gotabhaya Rajapaksa has been awarded the President's Commendation letter by former President J R Jayewardene and medals for valour in combat such as Rana Wickrama Padakkama and Rana Sura Padakkama by former Presidents R Premadasa and D B Wijetunga. He has also received a commendation from the Commander of the Army for his bravery in action.

He has commanded many anti-terrorist operations in the North and East in different capacities. Among them was his Command of the 1st Battalion of the Gajaba Regiment in the important Vadamarachhci Operation in 1987 and Operation Thrividabalaya in 1990 respectively, to rescue Jaffna peninsula and the Jaffna Fort from terrorist control.

Hailing from the village of Weeraketiya in the South of Sri Lanka, he had his education at Ananda College, Colombo.

He completed his basic officer cadet training at the prestigious Military Academy at Diyatalawa, and proceeded to Pakistan to complete the Young Officers' Course at Rawalpindi and later the mid-carrier course at Quetta.

He has also undergone advanced training in Counter Insurgency and Jungle Warfare at Assam, India. Later in his career, Rajapaksa graduated in advanced Infantry Training from Infantry School Fort Benning, USA. As a staff officer , Mr. Rajapaksa completed his Staff Course at the Defence Services Staff College in Wellington, India in 1983. He obtained his Masters degree on Defence Studies from the University of Madras in 1983.

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