Rohan Daluwatte

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Rohan Daluwatte
Born (1941-05-09)9 May 1941
Ambalangoda, British Ceylon
Died 27 August 2018(2018-08-27) (aged 77)
Colombo, Sri Lanka
Allegiance Sri Lanka Sri Lanka
Service/branch Sri Lanka Army
Years of service 1963–1998 (35 years)
Rank General
Unit Sri Lanka Armoured Corps
Commands held Commander of the Army
Battles/wars Sri Lankan Civil War

General Rohan De Silva Daluwatte, WWV, RWP, RSP, VSV, USP (9 May 1941 – 27 August 2018) was a general of the Sri Lanka Army. He served as Commander of the Sri Lanka Army and Chief of the Defence Staff. Following his retirement from the army, he served as Sri Lankan Ambassador to Brazil among other appointments.

The major achievement during his tenure as Army Chief of Staff was the capture of the Jaffna peninsula during Operation Riviresa, under his command as Joint Operations Commander. As Commander of the Army, he over saw large scale operations against Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), Operation Jayasikurui, Operation Sath Jaya and Operation Thrivida Pahara with mixed success.[1][2] [3][4]

Early life and education[edit]

Daluwatte was born in Ambalangoda, a coastal town in the south of Sri Lanka, to D. H. Paulis De Silva, a planter and former athlete; and D. W. Leela Somawathie.[1] He has one sister, Malini and four brothers, Susantha, Pinsiri, Rupasiri and Dhanasiri.

He received his primary education in Dharmapala Vidyalaya and secondary education at Ananda College, Colombo. During his school career captained the Ananda College badminton team from 1957 to 1960, was a member of the college tennis team in 1959 and 1960 and he was the wicket-keeper in the Ananda first XI in 1960.[1]

Early military career[edit]

Daluwatte joined the Sri Lanka Army on 14 August 1961 as an officer cadet and received his officer training at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. At Sandhurst, he excelled in athletics, badminton and basketball. He won the triple jump event at the British Army Championships and won the British Combined Services Colours for Athletics.[5]

On his return he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the 1 Reconnaissance Regiment, Ceylon Armoured Corps on 1 August 1963. He attended the young officers course at the Royal Armoured Corps Centre, Bowington. He later went on the captain the Sri Lankan Army basketball team.[5]

He went on to serve as the Chief Instructor of the Officer Cadet School at the Army Training Centre from 1979 to 1981; Commanding Officer of the 1st Reconnaissance Regiment, Sri Lanka Armoured Corps; Commanding Officer of the Sri Lanka Army Service Corps; ; Coordinating Officer Commanding Troops in Mannar; Director-Supplies and Transport; Commandant of the Army Training Centre and Military Secretary at Army Headquarters. He had graduated from the Defence Services Staff College and the National Defence College.[5]

Operation Riviresa[edit]

In 1995 Major General Daluwatte, who was the Chief of Staff of the Army was appointed as Overall Operations Commander - North and East by President Chandrika Kumaratunga to command Operation Riviresa the largest combined military operation undertaken by the Sri Lankan armed forces at the time. With the objective of re-gaining control of the Jaffna peninsula from the LTTE, Operation Riviresa was successful in re-capturing Jaffna and pushing the LTTE to the jungles of Wanni with significant loss of men and martial.[6] [7]

Commander of the Army[edit]

On 1 May 1996, he was appointed as the 14th Commander of the Army of Sri Lanka by President Chandrika Kumaratunga and promoted to the rank of Lieutenant General.[8] Early part of his tenure was saw the loss of Mullaitivu and Operation Sath Jaya which captured Kilinochchi. After the loss of Vavunathivu, Operation Jayasikurui was launched as the largest military operation undertaken by the Sri Lankan armed forces at the time to open a land route to the Jaffna peninsula through the LTTE held areas. It was called of by President Kumaratunga after having captured Mannakulam, Omanthai and Nedunkerni, but losing Kilinochchi and failing in achieving its objective. In April 1997, he co-hosted with Commander Pacific Army the Pacific Armies Management Seminar.[9] On 15 December 1998, he retired from the military service, having been promoted to the rank of General.[5]

Chief of Defense Staff[edit]

After his retirement, he was appointed as Chairman of the newly created Joint Operations Bureau, however he was reinstated to active service with the formation of the post of Chief of Defence Staff. During his tenure, he was given authority over all Sri Lankan armed forces to coordinated efforts to stall the LTTE offensive on the Jaffna peninsula following the loss of Elephant Pass. This was achieved with the establishment of the Muhamalai and Nagarkovil defensive lines which remained in place till the last days of the conflict in 2209. He retired as CDS in 2002.[10][6] Daluwatte offered his resignation in September 2002 following casualties suffered by Sri Lankan security forces in an offensive.[11]

Later life[edit]

After retiring from the army, he was appointed as the Ambassador of Sri Lanka to Brazil in 2002. With no permanent diplomatic presence in Brazil, General Daluwatte established a Sri Lankan embassy in Brasília and served as Sri Lanka Ambassador till 2005. Later, he was appointed Chairman of the Gem and Jewellery Authority of Sri Lanka and then the Chairman of the Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka. He also served as the Chancellor of the Kotalawala Defence University.[12][13][14]


General Daluwatte passed away on the 27 August 2018 at the army hospital in Colombo, Sri Lanka. He was cremated at the Borella Cemetery in Colombo with full military honours on the 29th of August 2018.[6]


He met his wife while he was captain of the national basketball team whilst she was playing for the Sri Lanka national women's team. They had a daughter Radiesha; and a son, [15]Radesh.[citation needed]


In the course of his military career he was awarded several of Sri Lanka's highest medals and decorations, including the Weera Wickrama Vibhushanaya, Rana Wickrama Padakkama, Rana Sura Padakkama, Vishista Seva Vibhushanaya and Uttama Seva Padakkama.[3]

He was also awarded the Legion of Merit by the United States for defense corporation during the 1997 Pacific Armies Management Seminar and Grand Cross of the Order of the Southern Cross by Brazil for his services for corporation between Brazil and Sri Lanka during his tenure as Sri Lankan Ambassador to Brazil.[5]


Sri Lankan newspaper The Sunday Leader alleged in January 2011 that Daluwatte wrote his own recommendation for the Weera Wickrama Vibhushanaya, which is Sri Lanka's second highest gallantry award for actions in combat. The newspaper also alleged that he did not obtain three eye witness reports which is a usual requirement for the medal. The citation stated that the medal was for gallantry in the operation to capture Jaffna. Daluwatte later stated that he had not been in combat at Jaffna but saw action at Neerveli, though none of the commanders spoken to by the newspaper could verify this.[10][16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Rohan Daluwatta: A versatile sportsman". 26 January 2011. Retrieved 6 September 2012. 
  2. ^ Mohideen, Rizwan Segu (27 August 2018). "'ரிவிரெச'வுக்கு தலைமை தாங்கிய ரொஹான் தளுவத்த காலமானார்". தினகரன் (Thinakaran). Retrieved 27 August 2018. 
  3. ^ a b "Sri Lanka Army – Past Army Commanders". Archived from the original on 30 August 2012. Retrieved 6 September 2012. 
  4. ^ Price, Susannah (13 October 1998). "Sri Lankan army hunts deserters". BBC News. Retrieved 6 September 2012. 
  5. ^ a b c d e Annual Report Civil Aviation Authority 2012
  6. ^ a b c "Former Army Commander, Rohan Daluwatte passes away". Sri Lanka News – Newsfirst. 27 August 2018. Retrieved 27 August 2018. 
  7. ^ "11.11.97 SLA commander predicts easy victory – again". TamilNet. 11 November 1997. Retrieved 6 September 2012. 
  8. ^ "Past Army Commanders". Sri Lanka Army. Retrieved 27 August 2018. 
  9. ^ The peace game: more questions than answers
  10. ^ a b Jansz, Frederica (21 April 2002). "Cardboard hero awards himself a gallantry medal". Retrieved 6 September 2012. 
  11. ^ "LTTE steps up attacks against Govt. troops". The Hindu. 12 September 2000. Retrieved 6 September 2012. 
  12. ^ "Rohan Daluwatte to head Gem Authority: Anil Koswatte to Laksala". 12 January 2011. Archived from the original on 2 February 2013. Retrieved 6 September 2012. 
  13. ^ "Daluwatte appointed new Chairman". 24 January 2011. Archived from the original on 10 March 2011. Retrieved 6 September 2012. 
  14. ^ "It is the duty of all to work towards taking the country to a top position in the world – President". 23 November 2011. Archived from the original on 30 December 2011. Retrieved 6 September 2012. 
  15. ^ "Dalu the soldier, sportsman passes away". The Island. Retrieved 27 August 2018. 
  16. ^ "Cardboard Hero New Chairman of Gem And Jewellery Authority | The Sunday Leader". 16 January 2011. Retrieved 6 September 2012. 

External links[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
G. H. De Silva
Commander of the Sri Lankan Army
Succeeded by
C. S. Weerasooriya