Struggling with the economic crisis, Sri Lanka has announced that it will reduce the current strength of the army by half by the year 2030 to create a technically and strategically strong and balanced defense force. The Sri Lankan government has made this announcement amid criticism of higher allocations for military spending compared to health and education in the 2023 budget.
The Defense Ministry said in a statement on Friday that the military strength will be reduced to 100,000 by the year 2030, while the currently sanctioned strength is 200,783. The military strength will be limited to 135,000 by next year, the statement said.
Sri Lanka's Defense Minister Pramitha Bandara Tennakoon said in a statement that the strategic blueprint aims to create a technologically and tactically strong and balanced defense force by 2030 to meet the upcoming security challenges. Let us tell you, the Sri Lankan government made a defense allocation of 539 billion rupees in the budget of the year 2023, which was criticized, because Sri Lanka is facing its worst economic crisis since 1948.
Sri Lanka was unable to afford major imports including fuel, fertilizers and medicines due to a shortage of foreign exchange. For health and education, more than 300 billion rupees have been allocated in the 2023 budget.
However, since the end of the conflict with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in 2009, Sri Lanka has halved the strength of the approximately 400,000-strong force. President Ranil Wickremesinghe said last year that a reform of military strategy was needed to prepare Sri Lanka's military to face new challenges. Tamil minority and human rights groups have been calling for a reduction of the army in conflict zones in the northern and eastern provinces.