The Keynote address was delivered by Secretary to the Ministry of Defence, Kapila Widyaratne PC.
The opening remarks of the conference, held under the theme 'Air Power in Addressing Asymmetric Threats' was made by the Commander of the Air Force Air Marshal Kapila Jayampathy.
This year, the Symposium is attended by 24 foreign representatives from 17 countries.
Addressing the gathering, State Minister Wijewardane said, that the contemporary world has changed a lot in terms of geo-politics, strategies and security concerns and the threat has changed from conventional to asymmetric in all dimensions of land, sea, air, space and cyber space. Modern nation states consider armed forces as an inalienable element of national power. In the present world order, where traditional security threats have been superseded by unconventional threats, conventional armed forces would be obsolete in terms of both brains and brawns unless they are ready to evolve with a futuristic vision, understanding the modern geo-strategic realities, he added.
'We must focus on modern threats to our national security that can lead to instability', he said and added that leaders of nations are seeking how best they can make partnerships with other countries. International conferences such as Colombo Air Symposium, therefore, can play a crucial role in providing a platform for discussions and medium to form strong partnerships, he opined.
Reminding those present of the humanitarian mission, he said that we had to face one of the most powerful and ruthless terrorist organizations in the world, and added that the tactics, conspiracies and the guerilla attacks were to be encountered on daily basis and atrocities on civilians, human shields, urban terrorist attacks, suicide bombings and suicide attacks, sea borne operations, propaganda and psychological operations were part and partial of the lives of Sri Lankans.
He noted that, only the exceptional and adaptable nature of the Sri Lankan forces guaranteed the final victory to the country.
He said that he believes, security is binding with the country's development and that the geo-political importance of Sri Lanka is a compelling factor for the future of our country, both for development and for regional security. Peace, harmony and economic prosperity are our greatest aspirations. Reconciliation and rehabilitation demand serious attention of all stake holders, and without establishing peace in the minds of citizens, the aspired prosperity would be a distant dream.
In this context, the Sri Lanka Air Force, makes an immense contribution towards national developmental goals along with the other sister forces in addition to their sole responsibility of national defence, he said.
He emphasized that, regional and global level collaboration will be an essential component of the future defence set up where the sharing of knowledge, transfer of technology, networking of information and combined operations play a vital part. Knowledge transfer, information exchange and technical collaboration are mandatory in any preparedness plan in forming a common platform to act in unison, he further said.