Indo-Sri Lanka Accord

Last updated
Indo-Sri Lanka Accord
Context Sri Lankan Civil War
Signed29 July 1987;31 years ago (1987-07-29)
Location Colombo, Sri Lanka
Signatories Rajiv Gandhi
(Prime Minister of India )
Junius Richard Jayewardene
(President of Sri Lanka)
PartiesFlag of India.svg  India
Flag of Sri Lanka.svg  Sri Lanka
Languages

The Indo-Sri Lanka Peace Accord was an accord signed in Colombo on 29 July 1987, between Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and Sri Lankan President J. R. Jayewardene. The accord was expected to resolve the Sri Lankan Civil War by enabling the thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution of Sri Lanka and the Provincial Councils Act of 1987. Under the terms of the agreement, [1] [2] Colombo agreed to a devolution of power to the provinces, the Sri Lankan troops were to be withdrawn to their barracks in the north and the Tamil rebels were to surrender their arms. [3] [4]

Colombo Commercial Capital in Western Province, Sri Lanka

Colombo is the commercial capital and largest city of Sri Lanka by population. According to the Brookings Institution, Colombo metropolitan area has a population of 5.6 million, and 752,993 in the city proper. It is the financial centre of the island and a popular tourist destination. It is located on the west coast of the island and adjacent to the Greater Colombo area which includes Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte, the legislative capital of Sri Lanka and Dehiwala-Mount Lavinia. Colombo is often referred to as the capital since Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte is within the urban area of, and a suburb of, Colombo. It is also the administrative capital of the Western Province and the district capital of Colombo District. Colombo is a busy and vibrant place with a mixture of modern life and colonial buildings and ruins. It was the legislative capital of Sri Lanka until 1982.

Rajiv Gandhi sixth Prime Minister of India

Rajiv Ratna Gandhi was an Indian politician who served as the 6th Prime Minister of India from 1984 to 1989. He took office after the 1984 assassination of his mother, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, to become the youngest Indian Prime Minister at the age of 40.

J. R. Jayewardene Sri Lankan President

Junius Richard Jayewardene, commonly abbreviated in Sri Lanka as J. R., was the leader of Sri Lanka from 1977 to 1989, serving as Prime Minister from 1977 to 1978 and as the second President of Sri Lanka from 1978 till 1989. He was a leader of the nationalist movement in Ceylon who served in a variety of cabinet positions in the decades following independence. A longtime member of the United National Party, he led it to a landslide victory in 1977 and served as Prime Minister for half a year before becoming the country's first executive president under an amended constitution.

Contents

Importantly however, the Tamil groups, notably the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) (which at the time was one of the strongest Tamil forces), had not been made party to the talks and initially agreed to surrender their arms to the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) only reluctantly. Within a few months however, this flared into an active confrontation. The LTTE declared their intent to continue the armed struggle for an independent Tamil Eelam and refused to disarm. The IPKF found itself engaged in a bloody police action against the LTTE. Further complicating the return to peace was a burgeoning Sinhalese insurgency in the south.

Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam Militant organization in Sri Lanka

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam was a Tamil militant organization that was based in northeastern Sri Lanka. Founded in May 1976 by Velupillai Prabhakaran, it waged a secessionist nationalist insurgency to create an independent state of Tamil Eelam in the north and east of Sri Lanka for Tamil people. This campaign led to the Sri Lankan Civil War, which ran from 1983 until 2009, when the LTTE was eventually defeated during the presidency of Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) was the Indian military contingent performing a peacekeeping operation in Sri Lanka between 1987 and 1990. It was formed under the mandate of the 1987 Indo-Sri Lankan Accord that aimed to end the Sri Lankan Civil War between militant Sri Lankan Tamil nationalists such as the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the Sri Lankan military.

Tamil Eelam Aspirational state

Tamil Eelam is a proposed independent state that Tamils in Sri Lanka and the Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora aspire to create in the north and east of Sri Lanka. Tamil Eelam, although encompassing the traditional homelands of Sri Lankan Tamils, has no official status or recognition by world states. Sections of the Eelam community were under de facto control of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) for most of the 2000s. The name is derived from the ancient Tamil name for Sri Lanka, Eelam.

Background

Location of Sri Lanka LocationSriLanka.png
Location of Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka, from the early part of the 1980s, was facing an increasingly violent ethnic strife. The origins of this conflict can be traced to the independence of the island from Britain in 1948. At the time, a Sinhala majority government was instituted which passed legislation that were deemed discriminatory against the substantial Tamil minority population. In the 1970s, two major Tamil parties united to form the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) that started agitation for a separate state of Tamil Eelam within the system in a federal structure in the north and eastern Sri Lanka [5] that would grant the Tamils greater autonomy. However, enactment of the sixth amendment of the Sri Lankan Constitution in August 1983 classified all separatist movements as unconstitutional, [6] effectively rendering the TULF ineffective. [6] Outside the TULF, however, factions advocating more radical and militant courses of action soon emerged, and the ethnic divisions started flaring into a violent civil war. [5]

Sri Lankan Civil War armed conflict in Sri Lanka (1983–2009) between the government and the separatist organization Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam

The Sri Lankan Civil War was an armed conflict fought on the island of Sri Lanka. Beginning on 23 July 1983, there was an intermittent insurgency against the government by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, which fought to create an independent Tamil state called Tamil Eelam in the north and the east of the island. After a 26-year military campaign, the Sri Lankan military defeated the Tamil Tigers in May 2009, bringing the civil war to an end.

British Ceylon former British Crown colony

Ceylon was a British Crown colony between 1815 and 1948. Initially the area it covered did not include the Kingdom of Kandy, which was a protectorate from 1815, but from 1815 to 1948 the British possessions included the whole island of Ceylon, now the nation of Sri Lanka.

Sinhalese people ethnic group

The Sinhalese are an Indo-Aryan-speaking ethnic group native to the island of Sri Lanka. They constitute about 75% of the Sri Lankan population and number greater than 16.2 million. The Sinhalese identity is based on language, historical heritage and religion. The Sinhalese people speak the Sinhalese language, an Indo-Aryan language, and are predominantly Theravada Buddhists, although a small percentage of Sinhalese follow branches of Christianity. The Sinhalese are mostly found in North Central, Central, South, and West Sri Lanka. According to the 5th century epic poem Mahavamsa, and the Dipavamsa, a 3rd–5th century treatise written in Pali by Buddhist monks of the Anuradhapura Maha Viharaya in Sri Lanka, the Sinhalese are descendants of settlers who came to the island in 543 BCE from Sinhapura, in India, led by Prince Vijaya.

Indian Involvement

According to Rejaul Karim Laskar, a scholar of Indian foreign policy, Indian intervention in Sri Lankan civil war became inevitable as that civil war threatened India’s “unity, national interest and territorial integrity.” [7] According to Laskar, this threat came in two ways: On the one hand external powers could take advantage of the situation to establish their base in Sri Lanka thus posing a threat to India, on the other hand, the LTTE’s dream of a sovereign Tamil Eela] comprising all the Tamil-inhabited areas (of Sri Lanka and India) posed a threat to India’s territorial integrity. [7]

Rejaul Karim Laskar

Rejaul Karim Laskar is an Indian politician from the Indian state of Assam belonging to Indian National Congress. He is a Congress ideologue. He has written extensively in favour of UPA Government's policies.. He is also a prominent author and scholar of India’s foreign policy and diplomacy.

The Indian intervention in the Sri Lankan Civil War was the deployment of the Indian Peace Keeping Force in Sri Lanka intended to perform a peacekeeping role. The deployment followed the Indo-Sri Lankan Accord between India and Sri Lanka of 1987 which was intended to end the Sri Lankan Civil War between militant Sri Lankan Tamil nationalists, principally the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), and the Sri Lankan military.

India had, initially under Indira Gandhi [8] [9] and later under Rajiv Gandhi, provided support to Tamil interests from the very conception of the secessionist movement. This included providing sanctuary to the separatists, as well as support the operations training camps for Tamil guerrillas in Tamil Nadu [10] of which the LTTE emerged as the strongest force. This was both as a result of a large Tamil community in South India, as well as India's regional security and interests which attempted to reduce the scope of foreign intervention, especially those linked to the United States, Pakistan, and China. [10] To this end, the Indira Gandhi government sought to make it clear to Sri Lankan President J. R. Jayewardene that armed intervention in support of the Tamil movement was an option India would consider if any diplomatic solutions should fail. [10] Following the anti-Tamil riots, the Tamil rebel movement grew progressively strong and increasingly violent. However, after Indira Gandhi's assassination, the Indian support for the militant movement decreased. However, the succeeding Rajiv Gandhi government attempted to re-establish friendly relations with its neighbours. It still however maintained diplomatic efforts to find a solution to the conflict as well as maintaining covert aid to the Tamil rebels. [10] [11]

Indira Gandhi Indian Prime Minister

Indira Priyadarshini Gandhi, was an Indian politician, stateswoman and a central figure of the Indian National Congress. She was the first and, to date, the only female Prime Minister of India. Indira Gandhi was the daughter of Jawaharlal Nehru, the first prime minister of India. She served as Prime Minister from January 1966 to March 1977 and again from January 1980 until her assassination in October 1984, making her the second longest-serving Indian Prime Minister, after her father.

Tamil Nadu State in Southern India

Tamil Nadu is one of the 29 states of India. Its capital and largest city is Chennai. Tamil Nadu lies in the southernmost part of the Indian subcontinent and is bordered by the union territory of Puducherry and the South Indian states of Kerala, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh. It is bounded by the Eastern Ghats on the north, by the Nilgiri Mountains, the Meghamalai Hills, and Kerala on the west, by the Bay of Bengal in the east, by the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait on the southeast, and by the Indian Ocean on the south. The state shares a maritime border with the nation of Sri Lanka.

South India Group of Southern Indian states

South India is the area including the five Indian states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Telangana, as well as the three union territories of Lakshadweep, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Puducherry, occupying 19% of India's area. Covering the southern part of the peninsular Deccan Plateau, South India is bounded by the Bay of Bengal in the east, the Arabian Sea in the west and the Indian Ocean in the south. The geography of the region is diverse with two mountain ranges–the Western and Eastern Ghats, bordering the plateau heartland. Godavari, Krishna, Kaveri, Tungabhadra and Vaigai rivers are important non-perennial sources of water. Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Trivandrum, Coimbatore, Visakhapatnam, Madurai and Kochi are the largest urban areas.

From 1985 however, the Sri-Lankan Government started rearming itself extensively for its anti-insurgent role with support from Pakistan, Israel, Singapore and South Africa. [10] [12] In 1986, the campaign against the insurgency was stepped up and in 1987, retaliating an increasingly bloody insurgent movement, Operation Liberation was launched against LTTE strongholds in Jaffna Peninsula, involving nearly four thousand troops, supported by helicopter gunships as well as ground attack aircraft. [10] In June 1987, the Sri Lankan Army laid siege on the town of Jaffna. [13] As civilian casualties grew, [14] [15] calls grew within India to intervene in what was increasingly seen in the Indian (and Tamil) media as a developing humanitarian crisis, especially with reports use of aerial support against rebel positions in civilian areas. [15] [16] India, which had a substantial Tamil population in South India faced the prospect of a Tamil backlash at home, called on the Sri Lankan government to halt the offensive in an attempt to negotiate a political settlement.

Jaffna City in Sri Lanka

Jaffna is the capital city of the Northern Province of Sri Lanka. It is the administrative headquarters of the Jaffna District located on a peninsula of the same name. With a population of 88,138 in 2012, Jaffna is Sri Lanka's 12th most populous city. Jaffna is approximately six miles from Kandarodai which served as an emporium in the Jaffna peninsula from classical antiquity. Jaffna's suburb Nallur served as the capital of the four-century-long medieval Jaffna Kingdom.

However, the Indian efforts were futile. Added to this, in the growing involvement of Pakistani and Israeli advisors, it was necessary for Indian interest to mount a show of force. [10] Failing to negotiate an end to the crisis with Sri Lanka, India announced on 2 June 1987 that it would send a convoy of unarmed ships to northern Sri Lanka to provide humanitarian assistance [17] but this was intercepted by the Sri Lankan Navy and turned back. [18]

Following the failure of the naval mission, the decision was made by the Indian government to mount an airdrop of relief supplies in support of rebel forces over the besieged city of Jaffna. On 4 June 1987, in a blatant show of force, the Indian Air Force mounted Operation Poomalai in broad daylight. Five An-32s of the Indian Air Force under cover of heavily armed Indian fighter jets flew over Jaffna to airdrop 25 tons of supplies, all the time keeping well within the range of Sri Lankan radar coverage. At the same time the Sri Lankan Ambassador to New Delhi was summoned to the Foreign Office to be informed by the Minister of External Affairs, K. Natwar Singh, of the ongoing operation. It was also indicated to the ambassador that if the operation was in any way hindered by Sri Lanka, India would launch a full-force military retaliation against Sri Lanka. [19] The ultimate aim of the operation was both to demonstrate the credibility of the Indian option of active intervention to the Sri Lankan Government, as a symbolic act of support for the Tamil Rebels, as well to preserve Rajiv Gandhi's credibility. [20]

Faced with the possibility of an active Indian intervention and facing an increasingly war-weary population at home, [21] the Sri Lankan President, J. R. Jayewardene, offered to hold talks with the Rajiv Gandhi government on future moves. [13] The siege of Jaffna was soon lifted, followed by a round of negotiations that led to the signing of the Indo-Sri-Lankan accord on July 29, 1987 [22] that brought a temporary truce. The terms of the truce specified that the Sri Lankan troops withdraw from the north and the Tamil rebels disarm, [3] and saw the induction of the Indian Peace Keeping Force in Sri Lanka.

Peace Accord

Among the salient points of the agreement, [4] the Sri Lankan Government made a number of concessions to Tamil demands, which included [1] [2] Colombo devolution of power to the provinces, merger (subject to later referendum) of the northern and eastern provinces, and official status for the Tamil language. [4] More immediately, Operation Liberation — the successful, ongoing anti-insurgent operation by Sri Lankan forces in the Northern peninsula — was ended. Sri Lankan troops were to withdraw to their barracks in the north, the Tamil rebels were to disarm. [3] India agreed to end support for the Tamil separatist movement and recognise the unity of Sri Lanka. [4] The Indo-Sri Lanka Accord also underlined the commitment of Indian military assistance on which the IPKF came to be inducted into Sri Lanka.

In 1990, India withdrew the last of its forces from Sri Lanka, and fighting between the LTTE and the government resumed. The LTTE committed serious human rights violations.[ citation needed ]

In January 1995, the Sri Lankan Government and the LTTE agreed to a ceasefire as a preliminary step in a government-initiated plan for peace negotiations. After 3 months, however, the LTTE unilaterally resumed hostilities.

The government of Sri Lanka then adopted a policy of military engagement with the Tigers, with government forces liberating Jaffna from LTTE control by mid-1996 and moving against LTTE positions in the northern part of the country called the Vanni. An LTTE counteroffensive, begun in October 1999, reversed most government gains; and by May 2000, threatened government forces in Jaffna. Heavy fighting continued into 2001.

Reaction

On the eve of the signing of the Indo-Sri Lanka Accord, Rajiv Gandhi was assaulted by Leading Rate Vijitha Rohana at the Guard of Honour held for Gandhi in what seemed an attempted assassination. Four years later, in 1991, Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated by a LTTE suicide bomber. This radically reduced support for the LTTE within India. In 2009, 19 years after his assassination, the Sri Lankan army mounted a major military offensive in the north and eradicated the LTTE. The operation was not opposed by India and received Indian diplomatic and military support, despite condemnations from state of Tamil Nadu and Western nations for alleged human rights violations. Rajiv Gandhi's widow, Sonia Gandhi was the chairperson of India's ruling coalition at the time.

Books

See also

Related Research Articles

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The following lists events that happened during 1987 in Sri Lanka.

References

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  2. 1 2 "Asia Times: SRI LANKA: THE UNTOLD STORY Chapter 35: Accord turns to discord". www.atimes.com.
  3. 1 2 3 New Delhi & the Tamil Struggle. The Indo Sri Lanka Agreement. Satyendra N. Tamil Nation [ permanent dead link ]
  4. 1 2 3 4 Text of the Peace accord.Tamil Nation [ permanent dead link ]
  5. 1 2 Pike, John. "Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) / World Tamil Association (WTA)". www.globalsecurity.org.
  6. 1 2 The Peace Accord and the Tamils in Sri Lanka.Hennayake S.K. Asian Survey, Vol. 29, No. 4. (Apr., 1989), pp. 401–415.
  7. 1 2 Laskar, Rejaul (September 2014). "Rajiv Gandhi's Diplomacy: Historic Significance and Contemporary Relevance". Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Diplomatist. 2 (9): 47. Retrieved 8 March 2018.
  8. India's search for power:Indira Gandhi's Foreign Policy.1966–1982. Mansingh S. New Delhi:Sage 1984. p282
  9. "Rediff On The NeT: Ashok Mitra on how Indira Gandhi sowed the seeds of hate". www.rediff.com.
  10. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 India's Regional Security Doctrine. Hagerty D.T. Asian Survey, Vol. 31, No. 4. (Apr., 1991), pp. 351–363
  11. "Research and Analysis Wing. Fas.org".
  12. "The Colombo Chill". Bobb, D. India Today . March 31, 1986. p95.
  13. 1 2 India Airlifts Aid to Tamil Rebels", The New York Times . 5 June 1987
  14. Sri Lanka in 1987: Indian Intervention and Resurgence of the JVP. Pfaffenberger B. Asian Survey, Vol. 28, No. 2, A Survey of Asia in 1987: Part II. (Feb., 1988), pp. 139
  15. 1 2 "Chapter 8". www.uthr.org.
  16. "Web Page Under Construction". www.tamilnation.org.
  17. "Indians To Send convoy to Sri Lanka", The New York Times . 2 June 1987
  18. "Indian Flotilla is turned back by Sri Lankan Naval Vessels", The New York Times . 4 June 1987
  19. "Indian Air Force in Sri Lanka.Operation Poomalai – The Jaffna Food drop." Bharat-rakshak.com Archived 2011-06-09 at the Wayback Machine .
  20. "Operation Poomalai – India Intervenes" Bharat-rakshak.com Archived September 7, 2006, at the Wayback Machine .
  21. "Sri Lanka's Ethnic Conflict: The Indo-Lanka Peace Accord". Ralph R. Premdas; S. W. R. de A. Samarasinghe, Asian Survey, Vol. 28, No. 6. (Jun., 1988), pp. 676–690.
  22. "Sri Lanka".
  23. "Indo-Lanka accord is a sound framework, say experts". The Hindu . 13 January 2013.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/indo-lanka-accord-is-a-sound-framework-say-experts/article22433003.ece