SLAF reduces numbers without compromising national security

Air Force Commander Air Marshal Sudarshana Pathirana said on Friday that they would continue to reduce SLAF troop numbers while ensuring that national security is not compromised.Taking part in a TV talk show, Air Marshal Pathirana said that troop numbers have already been reduced to 30,000 from 35,000.

 “I don’t really think that the money we spent on troops was an expense, it’s more of an investment. If you look at the air force most troops receive some technical skill. They will develop skills and expertise as pilots, engineers, mechanics, etc. These are much sought after technical skills. They can easily find jobs abroad too,” he said.

Pathirana said that there is a lively debate on defence expenditure in the country. While Sri Lanka needs to reduce the burden on taxpayers, maintaining adequate numbers of troops is essential for the stability of the country, he said.

“We have held a number of discussions with the President and the Defence Secretary on rationalizing troop numbers. We will reduce troop numbers while ensuring that we can provide safety. One must remember that we need to have a military to combat drugs, crime, ensure that threats from terrorists are met, disaster relief, etc. We can reduce defence expenditure but every country spends significant sums on security and they do it for a reason,” he said.

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