Sri Lankan Navy Chief winds up Historic U.S. visit with Three High Profile Meetings

Meets with Vice Chief of Naval Operations and Deputy Secretary of State

Full Honours Wreath Laying Ceremony for Admiral Sandagiri at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

H.E. Devinda R. Subasinghe, Vice Admiral Daya Sandagiri and Admiral Mike Mullen at the Pentagon

Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy, Vice Admiral Daya Sandagiri continued his historic visit to the US where the US transferred a 210 foot cutter to the Sri Lanka Navy. Accompanied by Ambassador Devinda R. Subasinghe, Sri Lanka Ambassador to the US, Admiral Sandagiri met with Admiral Mike Mullen, Vice Chief of Naval Operations (VCNO) at the Pentagon today. Admiral Mullen was deputizing for Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Verne Clarke who was out of Washington. The discussions centered on bilateral interests pertaining to the interdiction of illegal arms trafficking, security of the seas and ports, and related naval issues. Admiral Mullen stated that Sri Lanka is extremely important in the global security arena due to its unique location in the Indian Ocean. Admiral Sandagiri thanked the VCNO for all assistance accorded to the Sri Lanka Navy, especially in field of training. This visit is considered a historic first by a Sri Lankan Armed Forces Commander to the Pentagon.

Vice Admiral Sandagiri Presents a Memento to Under Secretary Bolton

Admiral Sandagiri met with John Bolton, Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security at the Department of State. Under Secretary Bolton too expressed his appreciation for the manner in which Sri Lanka had contributed towards addressing critical global security issues and stated that this was laudable.

Vice Admiral Daya Sandagiri meets US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage

Meeting with Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia Ms Christina Rocca at the Department of State, Admiral Sandagiri thanked Mr. Armitage for the US decision to transfer the US Coast Guard Cutter to the Sri Lanka Navy to strengthen the country’s ability to protect its sovereignty and territorial integrity. In particular, the capability to interdict illegal arms shipments in a region increasingly was facing multiple threats. Deputy Secretary Armitage noted the burgeoning defense and security partnership that is supporting the Government of Sri Lanka in the Peace Process. In particular, support for the critical role of the Sri Lanka Navy in defense and national security. The discussion also focused on the US role as Co-Chair of the Tokyo Process and the consistent US policy in the global war on terrorism.

Sri Lanka’s Navy chief was accorded a rare honour by Commandant Naval District of Washington at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier located within the Arlington National Cemetery on Saturday June 26. Admiral Sandagiri was honoured by a 19 gun salute at the entrance to the cemetery and was received by the Commandant Rear Admiral Jan Gaudio. The Honour Guard carried both the Sri Lankan and US National flags and the band played the two National Anthems. Admiral Sandagiri accompanied by H.E. Devinda R. Subasinghe and Rear Admiral Jan Gaudio then laid a wreath at the tomb. The band concluded the ceremony by playing a drum roll followed by Taps.

The conclusion of Admiral Sandagiri’s visit marks two historic events for a Sri Lankan military chief, the transfer of a US vessel to the Sri Lanka Navy and the visit to the Pentagon.

Embassy of Sri Lanka
Washington DC

25 June 2004

Revised on 29 June 2004

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