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53 Division

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CREST

HISTORY

During late 70s and early 80s, LTTE terrorist activities intensified in the country and an urgent need arose to review and re-organize military apparatus of Sri Lanka Army. This face off fuelled by external interested factors demanded enhancements and adaptations to suit the emerging insurgency in the Northern and Eastern Provinces of the country. An independent Brigade with special striking capability was established to respond against rapidly- changing security situation and it was kept under the direct command and control of the Commander of the Army. In early 90s, this Independent Brigade actively participated in the Operation “Riviresa“, launched to liberate Jaffna Peninsula from the clutches of LTTE as a Strike Force. Subsequently, this Independent Brigade transformed as 53 Infantry Division with three Infantry Brigades. Brigadier K J C Perera RWP RSP VSV USP rcds psc assumed duties as the First Commander of the newly-formed Division on 8th August 1995 at Palali. Subsequently 25 senior officers commanded this prestigious Division.The resent commander is Major General S U M N Manage WWV RWP RSP psc who assumed the duties on 15 September 2020 as the 27th Divisional Commander of Reserve Strike Force.


The Division actively participated in almost all offensive operations conducted by the Army such as ‘Akunu Pahara’, ‘Riviresa’, ‘Sathjaya’, ‘Jayasikuru’, ‘Rivikirina’ ‘Agnikeela’ and in almost all other limited operations conducted against the LTTE. Further, Division shared the honour of defeating the LTTE by actively participating in the Humanitarian Operation concluded on 18th May 2009.

Subsequent to war victory, the Division was attached to Security Forces Headquarters Jaffna and Wanni during the past. The Divition was stationed at Mankulam, Udawalawa, Anamaduwa and Puttalam.

VISION

Vision of the 53 Infantry Division (RSF) is to be the most potent and versatile reserve strike force of the Sri Lanka Army capable of swift and effective deployment to protect the national interest from internal and external threats whilst being the foremost Army formation in projecting the national power during all phases of military and populace control operations along with humanitarian assistance during national calamities.

MISSION

Mission of the 53 Infantry Division (RSF) is to be the most competent and self-reliant army formation capable of rapid deployment, flexibility in manoeuvre, increased sustainability and highly skilled in small group operations, Special Infantry Operation (SIO) augmented by constant operational awareness.

ROLE

Being the Reserve Strike Force of the Commander of the Army, the role of 53 Infantry Division is to harness the full potential for the rapid deployment into action through the use of coordinated and decentralized operations characterized by flexibility, innovation, audacity and aggressiveness.

TASKS

The primary tasks of the 53 Infantry Division is to conduct offensive and defensive operations in support of deployed field formations against external aggression and in the context of internal, rural and urban insurgency terrorism and semi conventional combat environments.

SPECIFIC TASKS.

The Specific Tasks of the 53 Infantry Division are as follows:

  1. To act as the Reserve Strike Force of the Sri Lanka of the Army.
  2. Assist to control situations which severely affect to the national security.
  3. To conduct offensive and defensive operations in semi conventional environment.
  4. To conduct counter insurgency/ counter terrorism operations in urban and rural environment.
  5. To assist Special Force Operations at preliminary stage when required.
  6. To conduct internal security duties.

  • Secondary Tasks of the 53 Infantry Division are as follows:
  • 53 Infantry Division is to perform routine duties as well as other duties assigned by the Army Headquarters and conduct humanitarian assistance operations in volatile environments to deal with multifaceted contingencies and emergencies including:

    1. Rapidly respond to disastrous situations and conduct search and rescue operations.
    2. Other duties assigned by Army Headquarters in support of wellbeing of the public
    3. Perform any duty assigned by the Commander of the Army.

    Major General KPSA Fernando RWP RSP ndu
    General Officer Commanding


    PAST COMMANDERS

    SN RANK NAME FROM TO
    1 Brig KJC Perera RWP RSP VSV USP rcds psc 08/08/1995 23/08/1996
    2 Brig HNW Dias RWP RSP VSV USP ndc IG 23/08/1996 31/12/1996
    3 Brig  GWW Perera RWP RSP USP psc  31/12/1996 22/12/1997
    4 Maj Gen HNW Dias RWP RSP VSV USP ndc IG 22/12/1997 01/11/1998
    5 Brig DSK Wijesooriya RWP RSP USP psc  01/11/1998 14/11/1999
    6 Brig G Hettiarachchi WWV RWP RSP USP psc  14/11/1999 05/04/2000
    7 Maj Gen DSK Wijesooriya RWP RSP USP psc  05/04/2000 21/04/2000
    8 Maj Gen S Wanigasekara RWP RSP USP psc  21/04/2000 28/07/2002
    9 Brig DU Munasinghe RWP RSP USP ndc 28/07/2002 13/01/2004
    10 Maj Gen P Chandrawansa RWP RSP USP psc  13/01/2004 09/11/2004
    11 Maj Gen WUB Edirisinghe  09/09/2004 26/05/2005
    12 Maj Gen NA Jayasuriya RWP RSP psc  26/05/2005 13/12/2005
    13 Brig SM De A Rajapakse RWP RSP ldmc  13/12/2005 09/04/2006
    14 Maj Gen SM  De A Rajapakse RWP RSP ldmc  09/04/2006 11/08/2007
    15 Brig S Sooriyabandara RSP 11/08/2007 28/04/2008
    16 Brig     GDHK  Gunarathna RWP RSP USP psc  28/04/2008 04/02/2009
    17 Maj Gen GDHK Gunarathna RWP RSP USP psc  04/02/2009 20/07/2009
    18 Brig CP Gallage RWP RSP USP 20/07/2009 29/07/2009
    19 Maj Gen CP Gallage RWP RSP USP 29/07/2009 07/02/2010
    20 Brig UAB Medawela USP psc  07/02/2010 30/06/2010
    21 Maj Gen  KADA Karunasekara RSP USP psc  01/07/2010 02/08/2012
    22 Maj Gen S Ranasinghe RWP RSP psc  03/08/2012 03/01/2013
    23 Brig HJ Senevirathne RWP RSP 03/01/2013 02/01/2014
    24 Maj Gen  M A M Dias RWP RSP VSV USP psc  02/01/2014 18/01/2016
    25 Maj Gen LHSC Silva WWV RWP RSP USP ndc psc 18/01/2016 31/03/2017
    26 Maj Gen RWWADB Rajaguru RWP RSP USP ndc psc 01/04/2017 21/08/2017
    27 Maj Gen AA Koddippily RWP RSP ndc 22/08/2017 15/09/2019
    28 Maj Gen  PJ Gamage RWP RSP USP ndc 16/09/2019 20/12/2019
    29 Brig HHASPK Senaratne RSP USP psc 20/12/2019 26/01/2020
    30 Maj Gen HHASPK Senaratne RSP USP psc 26/01/2020 15/09/2020
    31 Brig SUMN Manage WWV RWP RSP psc 15/09/2020 10/10/2020
    32 Maj Gen SUMN Manage WWV RWP RSP psc 10/10/2020 27/10/2021

    OPERATIONS CONDUCTED

    • Operation Riviresa
    • Operation Jayasikuru
    • Operation Ranagosa
    • Operation Rivikirana
    • Operation Kinihira
    • Operation Kinihira (Iv) Stage 2
    • Operation Kinihira (V)
    • Operation Kinihira (Viii)
    • Operation Kinihira (X)
    • Operation Agnikheela
    • Capturing Of Muhamale Enemy Forward Defence Line
    • Capturing Of Muhamale Enemy Second Line Of Defence
    • Wanni Humanitarian Operation

    SPECIAL DUTIES

    Domination patrols Divisions expanded deployment in the country help to curb the illegal land encroachments and illegal timer trading while troops on domination patrols. This will hep to protect flora and fauna of the country immensely.

    Successful Outcomes of Domination Patrols

    Contributions during COVID 19 Situation. National Centre for COVID 19 prevention was established to prevent the outbreak of virus, where the Army spearheaded the mission with the Chief of the Defence Staff and the Commander of the Army being appointed as the chairmen of the committee. Under the management of 53 Infantry Division (RSF) “Pelwehera” government quarantine centre was established on 01 May 2020 for Sri Lankans who works abroad and returned to the country during pandemic situation and also the managing assistance provided for hotel quarantine facilities for 10 x Hotels in the surrounding area of Dambulla.’. Further, ‘Ibbankatuwa Pasenger Transit Centre’ was established on 25 January 2021 to provide reception facilities for migrant workers who were moving out from quarantine centres.

    Managing Government Quarantine Facility – Pelwehera

    Commander of the Division, Major General SUMN Manage WWV RWP RSP psc was appointed as the ‘District Coordinator of Matale District’ for prevention of COVID 19 outbreak. Swift decision making, coordination with Governmental and other organizations to take preventive measures were the success measures taken to reduce the infection rate in the Matale District. Reducing trends in the number of new reporting cases was observed due to this integrated approach. Following were the measures taken to reduce COVID 19 spread during the executive and monthly meetings:

    Command Representation as District Coordinator of Matale District for Prevention of COVID 19 Outbreak

    INTERMEDIATE CARE CENTRE (ICC)

    Third wave of corona outbreak presented the rising cases of infections and death rates globally and affected the health care system of the country too. Traditionally isolation facilities for tested positive patients were provided at hospitals, but to optimize resources utilization, Intermediate Care Centres were established to provide assistance for patients with moderate symptoms. To assist the Government efforts, following ICCs were established with the following bedding capacities in the Matale District by 53 Division (RSF) troops by developing infrastructure facilities while converting commercial, training entities into ICCs:

    Technical School Matale 260 beds.
    Nalanda Hospital 40 beds.
    Laggala Hospital 50 beds.
    Ambana Hospital 100 beds.
    Galewela Hospital 50 beds.
    Technical School Dambulla 200 beds.
    Youth Training School 175beds.

    Development of Infrastructure Facilities for ICC

    As an agricultural hub, Matale district is famous for its plantation sector, spice gardens, paddy cultivation and vegetable harvesting. Dambulla Economic Centre located at the centre of the country is known as the ‘non-sleeping town’ due to its reputation earned for its wholesale supply of fresh vegetable to the country. Imposed travel restrictions and lack of wholesale buyers posed a severe trading crisis for farmers and intermediate traders. As part of assistance to function the Government mechanism, 53 Divisional (RSF) troops revamped the stalemate trading crisis on 14 May 2021 while coordinating with Governmental agencies by providing transport facilities to purchase bulk stock for essential distribution.

    TRAINING

    Training is the foundation for military success which needs to evolve continuously to prepare members to combat against any emerging threats and challenges. Further, training occupies induction of new technologies, physical and mental endurance among the members and exposure to response in short warning. Airmobile training school closely coordinate with Army training establishments over conduct of training for specific Strike Force members by supervising, conducting and coordinating training requirements.

    Enhancement of military knowledge at Airmobile Training School

    Number of courses conducted at 53 Infantry Division (RSF) as follows:

    a. SIOT. Concept of Special Infantry Operation Training developed to blend human skills with limited equipment to deliver combat power in tactical operations. Thereby, it made mandatory for each member of 53 Infantry Division to obtain SIOT qualification as the bottom-line of the standards to be maintained. Therefore, special approval has been granted to conduct SIOT course for Divisional troops till basic qualification standards are fulfilled by all members. SIOT course Number 72 is conducted for 06 x 282 troops at Nikawawa Airmobile training school is perceived to achieve the said objective.

    Opening Address of First Ever SIOT Course Specially Designed for Divisional Troops

    b. Company Training. This signifies the development of individual, platoon and company skills in internal security and counter insurgency warfare, particularly in jungle and semi-urban environments. Induction of conventional warfare too added to the course content. This training module enhances professional competence, leadership, effectiveness and efficiency of under command and subunits of Division. Company course is designed for 60 days. Course number 01 is successfully completed with the participation of 6 x 204 students and the course Number 02 is scheduled to be held from 13 September 2021 to 20 December 2021.

    In a training session

    c. Airmobile Training. Combine aviation and ground force training conducted at appropriate levels of command to plan and sustain joint operations while retaining operation readiness of Airmobile Battalion troops. Existing organization of Airmobile Brigade expanded into Five Battalions where newly reported battalion troops are in the process of undergoing basic Airmobile training course on priority basis. Airmobile course is designed for 45 days. Course Number 22 successfully completed with the participation of 6 x 200 students. Course Number 23 commenced on 10 May 2021 with the participation of 4 x 220 troops.

    Joint Operational Training

    d. Tamil & Arabic Language Course. Diversity, plurality has to be accepted in a country where different ethnicities and cultures exist. Thereby, dialogue among different dialects and communities is necessary to maintain credibility of security forces. An initiative is made to conduct Arabic and Tamil language courses for under command troops to master different language proficiency and to improve communication skills and awareness. Tamil & Arabic Language Course is designed for 89 days. Course Number 1 commenced on 1 February 2021 to 20 May 2021 with the participation of 26 soldiers.

    Tamil and Arabic Language Proficiency

    e. Computer Course. Specially designed computer course is conducted for under command troops to enhance technical knowhow related to application, design, development, implementation of technological skills related to operational duties. The computer course is designed for 89 days and commenced on 08 March 2021 to 07 April 2021 with the participation of 30 soldiers at the Army Logistics School.

    Enhancing Technical Knowledge – Computer Course

    f. Trainer for Trainee Clerk Course. This course is specially designed for Divisional members to train the relevant clerical staff within the organization to self-sustain administrative requirements. The course is specially designed by Trade School SLAGSC for a period of 36 days.

    As part of the training, ‘excursion to Meemure’ was organised to break the monotony of training and to test the endurance of the troops. March comprised of 54 Km stretch mountain climbing survival course for 02 x days and the mission was successfully completed within the scheduled time.

    Part of a Training- Excursion to Meemure

    CONTACT DETAILS

    Postal Address : 53 Infantry Division, Army Camp, Inamaluwa, Habarana
    Email Address : 53div@army.lk,53divisionrsf@gmail.com
    Telephone Numbers : 0662051354, 0772163465
    Fax : 0113108457