Gardihewa Sarath Chandralal Fonseka (born 17 December 1950, known as
Sarath Fonseka) RWP, RSP, VSV, USP, RCDS, PSC, SLSR is a former commander of the
Sri Lanka Army and a former Chief of Defence
Staff of Sri
As Commander of the Army Fonseka played an
instrumental role in ending the Sri
Lankan Civil War
in 2009. He was also the first serving officer
to be promoted to a four star rank in the Sri Lanka Army.
Fonseka joined the Sri Lanka Army in 1970 and saw action throughout
the 26 year civil war, culminating in a term as commander from
commander, he oversaw the the final
of the civil war which resulted in the defeat of the
Tigers of Tamil Eelam
organization. Fonseka has been described
as Sri Lanka's most successful army commander, and his run of
significant military victories against the LTTE during Eelam War IV
led the Indian National Security
Advisor Mayankote Kelath
to describe him as the "best army commander in the
world". On April 25
Fonseka survived an assassination attempt when an
LTTE suicide bomber attacked his motorcade. Following the end of
the war he was appointed Chief of Defence Staff, a post from which
he retired on November 16th, 2009.
There is an ongoing campaign to have General Fonseka run against
President Mahinda Rajapaksa
at the next Sri Lankan Presidential
. His resignation was seen as a step in this
Early life and family
Peter and Piyawathie Fonseka of Ambalangoda, he had his education at Dharmasoka
College, Ambalangoda (1958-1965) and Ananda College, Colombo (1966-1969).
Fonseka is a sportsman who has
participated in swimming and water polo events, representing
defense services and the country.
Military career in the Sri Lankan Army
Fonseka has held a large number of staff appointments including the
office of Chief of Staff
of the Sri
Lankan army, the post he relinquished to take reins as Commander of
contribution as Deputy General Officer Commanding consisted of
'Riviresa', the capture of
Jaffna from the Tamil Tigers, in December 1995.
Later, troops commanded by Fonseka offered stiff resistance to
Tamil Tigers in 2000, following the Fall of Elephant Pass
ultimately having to flee since they were unable to withstand the
was also involved in the operations 'Balawegaya' and 'Jayasikuru', which led to the capture
of the Elephant
Pass and Mankulam. The 6th Battalion of his Sri Lanka Sinha Regiment, which was
under siege at Elephant
Pass in 1991, repulsed the LTTE attack with
He was wounded in 1993 in the Yaldewee
Colonel, Fonseka commanded the 23 Brigade of the Sri Lankan Army at
Polonnaruwa in 1993.
Among other appointments, he held
Colonel, General Staff
Headquarters, Sri Lankan Army; Centre Commandant, Sri Lanka Sinha Regiment
Commander in Operation Ballavegaya, Deputy Commandant - 5 Brigade
Group, Mannar and Coordinating Officer for Gampaha Gum
Defeating the LTTE
On 18th May 2009, the Sri Lanka Army, under the leadership of Gen.
Fonseka, together with the Sri Lanka
and Sri Lanka Air
, completely defeated the LTTE
26 years of civil war.. General Fonseka is considered as a national
hero by the majority of Sri Lankans due to this achievement.
as the Jaffna Fort was
under siege for a long period, the then Colonel G.S.C.
Fonseka led troops in the
" (not a train
name) operation to rescue the besieged troops. Several hundred
soldiers were saved in this operation.
Suicide bomb attack
On 25 April 2006
General Fonseka survived an LTTE suicide bomb attack by a pregnant
LTTE operative who infiltrated the army base by attending the
regular maternity clinic provided for civilians at the army base
military hospital, in which he was seriously injured and nine
others were killed. The suicide bomber had infiltrated the
heavily-secured Sri Lankan army headquarters in Colombo and
attacked the General's limousine when he was on his way to the
. The General was rushed first to the
military hospital at the
headquarters and then transferred to the Colombo General Hospital
and later flown to Singapore for treatment, and resumed his duties in
Chief of Defence staff
He was made the chief of defence staff by the president effective
from the 15th July 2009.He is the first CDS appointed,from the
newly approved CDS act,which turned the post more responsible about
the nations security which enable all three forces are co-ordinated
In an interview to Canada’s National
in September 2008, Sarath Fonseka had said he “strongly
believed that Sri Lanka belongs to the Sinhalese
, but there are minority
communities and we treat them like our people”, and of the other
communities “They can live in this country with us. But they must
not try to, under the pretext of being a minority, demand undue
Sarath Fonseka Officially handed over his resignation letter to the
President through the Defence secretary on the 12th November 2009.
He left the Office on 16th November 2009, as the President had
requested him to immediately vacate the office. President Mahinda
Rajapaksa had appointed Air Force Chief Roshan Goonatilake
on 16th November 2009,
to perform the duties and functions of the office of Chief of
Defense Staff (CDS) in addition to his present duties as Air Force
Post War Politics
There were newspaper reports published about Mr. Fonseka entering
into politics at the culmination of the war, beginning in August
2009. One of the articles explains it as follows, "General Fonseka
launches political campaign - I will make a supreme sacrifice to
defend my land against the politicos who ever they may be joining
hands with India. Now we have a daunting task to protect our
motherland from India" . Gen. Fonseka entering politics was a
debate even during the war against LTTE.
There is currently a movement within Sri Lanka to have General
Fonseka run against President
in the next Sri
Lankan Presidential Election. He was forced out of his position two
weeks prior to when he proposed to resign by Rajapaksa and replaced
by Air Force Chief Roshan Goonatilake.
General Fonseka November 12
his letter of resignation from his present post of Chief of Defence
to President Rajapakse. His resignation is to take effect
from 1st of December 2009
Fonseka who attended the Security Council meeting November 11
under the leadership of President
Rajapakse had told about his resignation to the President while at
lunch with him and were having cordial discussions. Gen.
along with the President Mahinda
Rajapakse has also attended the official reception at Katunayake
Airport that was given to Myanmar Head of State General Than Shwe who arrived in the Island November 12.
Following the handing over
of his resignation letter, Gen. Fonseka is to attended a religious
ceremony at the Kelaniya Raja
12th evening. On November 29,
2009 at a press conference held in Colombo he formally announced his candidature to run
against President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the next Sri Lankan Presidential
Election which is scheduled to be held on January 26, 2010 and he
His awards and decorations include the Gallantry Medals; Rana Wickrama Padakkama
Rana Sura Padakkama
distinguished service medals; Vishista Seva Vibhushanaya
Uttama Seva Padakkama
and other notable medal campaign medals; Riviresa Campaign Services
, Poorna Bhoomi Padakkama, North & East Operations
Medal, Desha Putra Sammanaya
and several others.
General Fonseka married to Anoma Indumathi Munasinghe daughter of
D.J.and Eugine Munasinghe and has two children Aparna &
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- Tribute to the fallen .
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- Is Lt.Gen Sarath Fonseka nurturing a Political
Ambition After Retirement?
- Sri Lanka military chief resigns.
- announces candidature against Rajapaksa
- The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of