New army commander Lt. Gen. Vikum Liyanage takes office
COLOMBO (News 1st); Lieutenant General Vikum Liyanage, who was appointed as the commander of the 24th Army, took up his post at the army headquarters on Wednesday (1).
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, in his capacity as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, has promoted Vikum Liyanage to the rank of Lieutenant General, effective June 1, 2022.
Lieutenant General Vikum Liyanage, as the 24th Army Commander, replaced General Shavendra Silva, who has now been appointed Chief of the Defense Staff.
The formal resignation of the 23rd army commander, General Shavendra Silva, now appointed chief of the defense staff, took place last afternoon (31) in a simple formality where the outgoing commander symbolically handed over the authority, the sword and the truncheon to his successor.
The move that took place at the army commander’s office signified the transfer of command in the military manner to the new army chief of the Gajaba regiment.
The glittering replica of the sword, made with gold and silver colors with a seven-headed lion, called ‘serapendia’ symbolizes command and other parts reflect natural laws, respect and dignity of the profession, protection of the nation, religions, culture and state.
The ornamental baton represents command authority which can only be held by a serving army commander. These two symbolic replicas signify the importance of the office of the army commander and the authority he commands over the organization in the greater interest of the country.
Who is the new army commander?
Lieutenant General HLVM Liyanage RWP RSP ndu has been appointed as the 24th Commander of the Sri Lankan Army, effective 1st June 2022 by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in his capacity as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces after being elevated to the rank of lieutenant general with effect from the same date.
Prior to his new appointment, Lieutenant General HLVM Liyanage, better known as Vikum Liyanage, was the Chief of Staff of the Sri Lankan Army. He is the highest ranking officer in the army at present next to the outgoing commander.
Lt. Gen. Vikum Liyanage as an Officer Cadet joined the Regular Force of the Sri Lankan Army on 27 October 1986 under Regular Admission – 26 and completed basic military training at the prestigious Sri Lanka Military Academy in Diyatalawa, then Pakistan Military Academy. After successfully completing cadet training, he was promoted to the rank of second lieutenant and assigned to the Gajaba regiment.
During his 35 years of illustrious military career, he held a number of important command, staff and training positions, including Platoon Commander, Company Commander and Warrant Officer 4th regiment of Gajaba. In the Eastern Theater of Operations, Lieutenant General Vikum Liyanage has played a commendable role in contributing to the eradication of terrorism in the region. He was also Intelligence Officer of the 21st and 55th Infantry Divisions, Second in Command of the 14th Gajaba Regiment, Adjutant to General Sir John Kotelawala Defense University, Staff Officer II (Admin) at the Regimental Center of the Gajaba Regiment , second in command of the 10th Gajaba. Regiment, Staff Officer II in the Directorate of Staff Duties, Commander of the 8th Gajaba Regiment during which Lt. Gen. Vikum Liyanage with his troops in the Mannar ‘Rice Bowl’ progressed and advanced into areas held by terrorists in impressive operations.
Brigade Commander (overlooking) of the 225 and 553 Infantry Brigades, Sector Commander at Colombo Operations Command, Brigade Commander of the 215, 542, 224, 221 and 623 Infantry Brigades, Director (Doctrine and Training) and Director (Operations and Systems) at the Office of the Chief of Defense Staff (OCDS), Commander of the Combat Training School (Ampara), Director General of Psychological Operations, General Officer Commanding of the 21st Division of Infantry, Commander Security Force – West, Commander Security Force – Central, Colonel of the Sri Lankan National Guard Regiment, Commander of the Sri Lankan Army Volunteer Force and Chairman of the Army Wushu Committee Sri Lankan.
Lieutenant General Vikum Liyanage has been able to broaden his horizons thanks to the experience gained over the years during his respective appointments in his office and thanks to the additional training he has undergone. He has successfully completed a number of local courses, including Homeland Security/Counter-Revolutionary Warfare Course at Army Training School (Maduru Oya), Method of Instruction Course at Military Academy of Sri Lanka, the Advanced Observation Officer Course at the School of Artillery (Minneriya), Battalion Support Weapons Course at the Infantry Training Center (Minneriya), Platoon Commanders Refresher Course at Army Training School (Maduru Oya), Company Commanders Refresher Course at Army Headquarters, Unit Security Officers Course at Military Intelligence Corps, Management Development and Leadership Course at Sir John Kotelawala General Defense University, Basic Mediation Skills and Processes (HCR) course at the 21st Division and Multinational Platoon-3 Exercise at Kukuleganga.
To his credit, he has also attended many courses, workshops and seminars of professional value abroad including Officer Physical Training Course in India, Young Officers Course in Pakistan, Junior Command Course in India, the Unit Commanders Course in Bangladesh, the Senior Command Course in India, the Advanced Security Cooperation Program in Hawaii, and the regular teaching program at Lemhannas National Institute in Indonesia.
In addition, he holds an MA in Strategic and Resilience Studies from Lemhannas University, Indonesia, and a Diploma in “Global Security in the Indo-Pacific Region” from the Asia-Pacific Center for safety in Hawaii. Additionally, he received a degree in Defense Management from the University of Indore in India.
At the height of the last humanitarian operation, General Vikum Liyanage commanded the 8 Gajaba Regiment of the victorious 57 and 56 divisions which were actively conducting operations. He was able to score many victories against the LTTE. Additionally, Lieutenant General Vikum Liyanage who actively participated in the operations against the LTTE was decorated with the Rana Wickrama Padakkama (RWP) Bravery Awards for individual or combined acts of bravery in the face of the enemy and performed voluntarily. He was also decorated with the Rana Sura Padakkama (RSP) for distinguished conduct in the face of the enemy. The senior officer was awarded the above medals three times during his military career for pioneering the eradication of terrorism in humanitarian operations in the North and East. Additionally, he is a recipient of Desha Puthra Padakkama for being injured in operations due to enemy action. Lt. Gen. Vikum Liyanage also received service decorations such as Eastern Humanitarian Operation Medal, Northern Humanitarian Operation Medal, Purna Bhumi Padakkama, Northern Operation Medal and of the East, the Riviresa Campaign Service Medal, the 50th Anniversary of Independence Commemoration Medal, the Sri Lankan Army 50th Anniversary Medal, Long Service Medal, Seva Abhimani Medal and Medal of the service.
During his school career, he shone in athletics and hockey as a bright student and received accolades for Vijaya College school in Matale.
Likewise, the honorary title of “Janamanya Vibhutiratna” in the Amarapura Buddhist Monastic Order Chapter was conferred in recognition of his immense contribution to the promotion of Sasana Buddha. He is married to Mrs. Janaki Liyanage and is blessed with a daughter and a son.