Kamal Gunaratne

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Kamal Gunaratne
Service/branchSri Lanka Army
Years of service1981–2016
RankSri Lanka-army-OF-9.svg General
UnitGajaba Regiment
Commands heldSecurity Forces Headquarters – Wanni,
53 Division,
Battles/warsSri Lankan Civil War,
1987–89 JVP Insurrection
AwardsWeera wickrama vibhushanaya.svg Weera Wickrama Vibhushanaya
Rana wickrama medal.svg Rana Wickrama Padakkama
Rana sura medal.svg Rana Sura Padakkama
Uttama Seva ribbon bar.svg Uttama Seva Padakkama
Other workSecretary to the Ministry of Defence

General Kamal Gunaratne, WWV, RWP, RSP, USP, ndc, psc, GR is a Sri Lankan general. He is the Secretary to the Ministry of Defence and the former Commander Security Forces Headquarters - Wanni, General Officer Commanding (GOC), 53 Division and was a former Deputy Ambassador to Brazil.[1][2][3] He was the Commanding Officer of the 53 Division in Sri Lanka Army, that killed the LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran.

Early life and education[edit]

Born to a family of teachers, his father was a School Principal. Educated at Dharmapala Vidyalaya and Ananda College, he joined the army in 1981 as a cadet officer, undergoing training at the Sri Lanka Military Academy. He attended the Army War College, Mhow, the Defence Services Staff College and the National Defence College, New Delhi.

Military career[edit]

After completing his basic training and a commando course, he was commissioned into the Rajarata Rifles as a second lieutenant. Following the disbandment of the Rajarata Rifles, he was one of the initial officers of the newly formed Gajaba Regiment. Serving as a platoon commander, company commander in the Gajaba Regiment, he was promoted to the ranks of Lieutenant and Captain. In 1987 he took part in the Vadamarachchi Operation and thereafter was deployed to Colombo for internal security duties. In 1990, he was the officer commanding the Mankulam Army Camp when it came under intense LTTE attack and under orders from the Wanni Headquarters made a successful withdrawal from the besieged camp. In 1991, he was promoted to the rank of Major and was appointed Second in Command of the 6th Battalion, GR. He was the officer commanding the Silawathura Army Camp when it came under siege by the LTTE, holding off the LTTE attack for several days until 6GR was relieved by reinforcements. During the siege he was wounded. Following deployment to Weli Oya he was once again seriously wounded. After returning to operational duties, he was transferred to Army Headquarters as a Grade II Staff Officer in the Directorate of Logistics. In 1994, having been promoted to Lieutenant Colonel he took command of the 6GR, taking part in the Operation Riviresa until 1997. From 1997 to 1998, he attended the first batch of the Sri Lanka Army Command and Staff College. Thereafter, he served as Commandant at Infantry Training Centre, Grade I Staff Officer at Joint Services Operational Headquarters coordinating the Operation Jayasikurui. From 2002 to 2004, he attended the Defence Services Staff College. On his return he was appointed Centre Commander of the Gajaba Regiment.

As a colonel he was Bridged Commander of the Air Mobile Brigade at the on set of the Eelam War IV, he went on to take command of the 55 Division and 53 Division and was promoted to the rank of Brigadier. 53 Division took part in many major battles leading to the death of LTTE Leader Velupillai Prabhakaran. He was also the Colonel of the Regiment of the Mechanized Infantry Regiment and the Gajaba Regiment.[4]

Following the war Gunaratne served as Adjutant General, Security Forces Headquarters – Wanni, Deputy Ambassador to Brazil and Master General Ordnance at the Army Headquarters from 16 February 2015 to 4 September 2016 before his retirement in 2016.[5]

He authored a book Road to Nandikadal[6] on the war against LTTE.[7][8][dead link], which was the best selling book of the 2016 Colombo International Book Fair.[9]

Accused of war crimes[edit]

Some NGO accused 53 Division under Kamal Gunaratne for Executions of LTTE cadres, during the heat of the war near Nandikadal in May 2009.[10]

Political career[edit]

Post retirement, General Gunaratne has been active in supporting former Defense Secretary Lieutenant Colonel Gotabhaya Rajapaksa in his campaign during the 2019 Presidential election.[11] Following the election President Rajapaksa appointed Major General Gunaratne Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Defence succeeding General Shantha Kottegoda on 19 November 2019.[12] In December 2020, he was promoted to the rank of General by President Rajapaksa.[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Three Major Generals to serve as Deputy Ambassadors". Asian Mirror. 6 November 2012. Archived from the original on 8 November 2012. Retrieved 10 March 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ "Sri Lanka war refugees leaving military camps". BBC. 1 December 2009. Retrieved 10 April 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ "Who are Sri Lanka Army's 53 Division?". Channel4. 8 December 2010. Retrieved 10 March 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ Major General Kamal Gunaratne Honoured in MIR Military Parade
  5. ^ "SL Army announces several key appointments". Financial Times.
  6. ^ "Road to Nandikadal". Vijitha yapa.
  7. ^ "Council on Foreign Relations". Archived from the original on 26 May 2010. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  8. ^ "MIPT Terrorism Knowledge Base". Archived from the original on 19 August 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  9. ^ "Road To Nandikadal 'Could Be Sri Lanka's Record Best Seller'". Retrieved 4 August 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  10. ^ "Sri Lanka: Army Unit Linked to Executions". New York, U.S.A.: Human Rights Watch. 8 December 2010. Retrieved 2 September 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  11. ^ Gotabhaya is the leader needed by the country – Kamal Gunaratne
  12. ^ "Kamal Gunaratne appointed new Defence Secretary". Adaderana. Retrieved 19 November 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  13. ^ "Defense Secretary Kamal Gunaratne elevated to rank of General". Adaderana. Retrieved 28 December 2020.

External links[edit]