Secretary to Ministry of Defence, Major General (Retd) Kamal Gunaratne, together with Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva, Chief of Defence Staff and Commander of the Army, Commanders of the Navy, Commander of the Air Force and several senior Tri service Officers last day (27) had a close inspection on the renovation and re-construction site of the new National Defence College (NDC), the first of its kind in Sri Lanka at Kompannaveediya, Colombo 2.
Major General Amal Karunasekara, Commandant, NDC after extending a warm welcome to the delegation presented a comprehensive account to the visitors on the status quo of the project as regards its renovation, refurbishment, re-construction, proposed plan of action for its future function and other peripheral concerns, etc before they inspected the whole premises.
Major General (Retd) Kamal Gunaratne during his stay there opined that the Ministry of Defence would be able to support its finishing touches in future in order to have it inaugurated by the year 2021 as the premiere think-tank for defence policy-making and the educational platform for tri services, Police, state officials and foreign representatives. All agreed that the ancient grandeur of the entire mansion should be maintained with its architectural value intact since its historical roots date back to the year 1835.
The objective of this proposed National Defence College is to equip future policy makers with the background necessary for a broad understanding of the varied social, economic, political, military, scientific and organisational aspects involved in the planning of national defence strategy. With this aim in mind the proposed National Defence College expects to impart training in national and international security related fields to the selected senior Defence and Civil Service officers and promotes research and understanding of various related issues by creating the necessary academic environment for such work and conduct of related study courses.
This 11-acre land had been first granted to the Officers of the then Ceylon Rifles Regiment of the British Army for construction of a Mess House under the British rule and late Major General Sir John Wilson of the British Army during colonial era had laid the cornerstone stone for the construction on 24 August 1835. However, it had been sold to Colombo Commercial Company in 1876, prompting them to headquarter there and name it as the â€˜Acland Houseâ€™. In 1975, the government re-took the building under the nationalization policy and assigned it to the Navy in 1976. However, it was re-named as Visumpaya in 1990 and was used as the official residence of a former Prime Minister and a few Ministers in the past years. It was also used as a government's media house in the recent years.