|Context||Sri Lankan Civil War|
|Signed||29 July 1987|
|Location||Colombo, Sri Lanka|
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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the terms of the agreement,Colombo agreed to a devolution of power to the provinces, the Sri Lankan troops were to be withdrawn to their barracks in the north and the Tamil rebels were to surrender their arms.
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.
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 Lankathat 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, effectively rendering the TULF ineffective. 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.
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."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 Eelam comprising all the Tamil-inhabited areas (of Sri Lanka and India) posed a threat to India’s territorial integrity.
India had, initially under Indira Gandhiand 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 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. 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. 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.
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.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. In June 1987, the Sri Lankan Army laid siege on the town of Jaffna. As civilian casualties grew, 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. 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.
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.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 but this was intercepted by the Sri Lankan Navy and turned back.
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.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.
Faced with the possibility of an active Indian intervention and facing an increasingly war-weary population at home, [ citation needed ] and saw the induction of the Indian Peace Keeping Force in Sri Lanka.[ citation needed ]the Sri Lankan President, J. R. Jayewardene, offered to hold talks with the Rajiv Gandhi government on future moves. 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 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,
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Among the salient points of the agreement,[ citation needed ] the Sri Lankan Government made a number of concessions to Tamil demands, which included 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.[ citation needed ] 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.[ citation needed ]India agreed to end support for the Tamil separatist movement and recognise the unity of Sri Lanka.[ citation needed ] The Indo-Sri Lanka Accord also underlined the commitment of Indian military assistance on which the IPKF came to be inducted into Sri Lanka.[ citation needed ]
In 1990, India withdrew the last of its forces from Sri Lanka, and fighting between the LTTE and the government resumed.
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.[ citation needed ]
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.[ citation needed ]
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.[ citation needed ]
The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) was a Tamil militant organisation that was based in northeastern Sri Lanka. Its aim was to secure an independent state of Tamil Eelam in the north and east in response to the state policies of successive Sri Lankan governments that were widely considered discriminative towards the minority Sri Lankan Tamils, as well as the oppressive actions—including anti-Tamil pogroms in 1956 and 1958—carried out by the majority Sinhalese.
The Sri Lankan Civil War was a civil war fought in the island country of Sri Lanka from 1983 to 2009. Beginning on 23 July 1983, there was an intermittent insurgency against the government by the Velupillai Prabhakaran led 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 due to the continuous discrimination against the Sri Lankan Tamils by the Sinhalese dominated Sri Lankan Government, as well as the 1956, 1958 and 1977 anti-Tamil pogroms and the 1981 burning of the Jaffna Public Library carried out by the majority Sinhalese mobs, in the years following Sri Lanka's independence from Britain in 1948. After a 26-year military campaign, the Sri Lankan military defeated the Tamil Tigers in May 2009, bringing the civil war to an end.
Velupillai Prabhakaran was a Tamil guerrilla freedom fighter. Hailed as "Thalaivar" (leader), he was the founder and leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), a militant organization that sought to create an independent Tamil state in the north and east of Sri Lanka. The LTTE waged war in Sri Lanka for more than 25 years, to create an independent state for the Sri Lankan Tamil people.
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 Sri Lankan Tamil nationalists such as the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the Sri Lankan military.
Anton Balasingham Stanislaus was a Sri Lankan Tamil journalist, rebel and chief political strategist and chief negotiator for the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, a separatist Tamil militant organisation in Sri Lanka.
Shanmugalingam Sivashankar was a Sri Lankan Tamil rebel and leading member of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, a separatist Tamil militant organisation in Sri Lanka.
Operation Poomalai, also known as Eagle Mission 4, was the codename assigned to a mission undertaken by the Indian Air Force to air-drop supplies over the besieged town of Jaffna in Sri Lanka on 4 June 1987 in support of Tamil Tigers during the Sri Lankan Civil War.
The Jaffna University Helidrop was the first of the operations launched by the Indian Peace Keeping Forces (IPKF) aimed at disarming the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) by force and capturing the town of Jaffna, Sri Lanka, in the opening stages of Operation Pawan during the active Indian mediation in the Sri Lankan Civil War. Mounted on the midnight of 12 October 1987, the operation was planned as a fast heliborne assault involving Mi-8's of the No.109 HU, the 10th Para Commandos and a contingent of the 13th Sikh LI. The aim of the operation was to capture the LTTE leadership at Jaffna University building which served as the Tactical Headquarters of the LTTE, which was expected to shorten Operation Pawan, the battle for Jaffna. However, the operation ended disastrously, failing to capture its objectives due to intelligence and planning failures. The helidropped force suffered significant casualties, with nearly the entire Sikh LI detachment of twenty-nine troops, along with six paracommandos, falling in battle.
Operation Pawan was the code name assigned to the operation by the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) to take control of Jaffna from the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), better known as the Tamil Tigers, in late 1987 to enforce the disarmament of the LTTE as a part of the Indo-Sri Lanka Accord. In brutal fighting lasting about three weeks, the IPKF took control of the Jaffna Peninsula from the LTTE, something that the Sri Lankan Army had tried but failed to do. Supported by Indian Army tanks, helicopter gunships and heavy artillery, the IPKF routed the LTTE at the cost of 214 soldiers and Officers.
Eelam War I is the name given to the initial phase of the armed conflict between the government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE. Although tensions between the government and Tamil militant groups had been brewing since the 1970s, full-scale war did not break out until an attack by the LTTE on a Sri Lanka Army patrol in Jaffna, in the north of the country, on July 23, 1983, which killed 13 soldiers. The attack, and the subsequent riots in the south, are generally considered as the start of the conflict. This fighting continued until 1985, when peace talks were held between the two sides in Thimphu, Bhutan, in hopes of seeking a negotiated settlement. They proved fruitless and fighting soon resumed.
Operation Liberation also known as the Vadamarachchi Operation was the military offensive carried out by the Sri Lankan Armed Forces in May and June 1987 to recapture the territory of Vadamarachchi in the Jaffna peninsula from the LTTE. At the time it was the largest combined services operation undertaken by the armed forces deploying multiple brigade size formation, becoming the first conventional warfare engagement on Sri Lankan soil after the end of British colonial rule. The operation involved nearly 8,000 troops, supported by ground-attack aircraft, helicopter gunships and naval gun boats. The offensive achieved its primary objective, however operations were suspended when the Indian government dropped food supplies over Jaffna in Operation Poomalai on June 4, 1987, which prompted the Sri Lankan government to accept the Indo-Sri Lankan Accord.
India–Sri Lanka relations are diplomatic relations between India and Sri Lanka. Only 4% of Sri Lankans have a negative view on India, the lowest of all the countries surveyed by the Ipsos GlobalScan. The two countries are also close on economic terms with India being the island's largest trading partner and an agreement to establish a proto single market also under discussion at an advanced stage. There are deep racial and cultural links between the two countries. India and Sri Lanka share a maritime border. India is the only neighbour of Sri Lanka, separated by the Palk Strait; both nations occupy a strategic position in South Asia and have sought to build a common security umbrella in the Indian Ocean. Both India and Sri Lanka are republics within the Commonwealth of Nations.
The Jaffna hospital massacre occurred on October 21 and 22, 1987, during the Sri Lankan Civil War, when troops of the Indian Peace Keeping Force entered the premises of the Jaffna Teaching Hospital in Jaffna, Sri Lanka, an island nation in South Asia, and killed between 60–70 patients and staff. The rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, the government of Sri Lanka, and independent observers such as the University Teachers for Human Rights and others have called it a massacre of civilians.
The Eelam National Democratic Liberation Front (ENDLF) is a former Indian backed Tamil militant group in Sri Lanka. It was formed in 1987 as an amalgamation of splinter groups from other militant groups. It is currently a pro-government paramilitary group and political party. In August 2011 it was reported that the party is to be deregistered.
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.
Wijemuni Vijitha Rohana de Silva was a Sri Lankan sailor and an astrologer. He is noted for his assault on Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi on 30 July 1987 at President's House, Colombo. It was claimed by some as an attempted assassination. He later contested a general election under the Sihala Urumaya party in 2000.
The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), a separatist militant organization formerly based in northern Sri Lanka, had various organizations affiliated to it. These include charitable organizations, political parties, state intelligence organizations and even governments of Sri Lanka and other countries. Although the LTTE was militarily defeated in 2009, the Sri Lankan government alleges that a number of foreign-based organizations are still promoting its ideology.
The Tamil Eelam Supporters Organization (TESO) was an Eelam Tamil supporters organisation founded in Madras on 13 May 1985 with Dr. Kalaignar Karunanidhi as President and K. Veeramani and Nedumaran as members for the establishment of an independent Tamil Eelam in the northeast of Sri Lanka.
The following lists events that happened during 1987 in Sri Lanka.
|Sri Lankan Civil War timeline|