Ruwan Wijewardene appointed acting Defence Minister as President travels to China

Sri Lanka's state minister of defence Ruwan Wijewardene (L) speaks during a press conference in Colombo on April 24, 2019. - A Sri Lankan security dragnet hunting those responsible for horrifying bombings that claimed more than 350 lives has scooped up a further 18 suspects, police said April 24, as pressure mounted on politicians to explain why no one acted on intelligence warnings. (Photo by ISHARA S. KODIKARA / AFP) (Photo credit should read ISHARA S. KODIKARA/AFP/Getty Images)

May 13, 2019 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s State Minister of Defence Ruwan Wijewardene has been appointed as the acting Defence Minister in coordination with President Maithripala Sirisena’s trip to China.

With the exception of a short 50 day period during Sri Lanka’s recent constitutional crisis, Wijewardene has been the State Minister of Defence continuously since January 2015.

The appointment has been made in contrast to the period during the Easter Sunday terror attacks when the President did not appoint an Acting Defence Minister while he was overseas on a private visit to Singapore.

The acting minister will work in conjunction with the new Defence Secretary General Shantha Kottegoda, a former wartime Army Commander, to oversee national security during the Presidents overseas visit.

The nation has been relatively stable after the Easter Sunday attacks with the security forces detaining suspects and finding large caches of arms throughout the island. Schools are still seeing only sparse attendance as the country is slowly attempting a return to normalcy.

Defence Secretary General Shantha Kottegoda receiving appointment from President Sirisena