Indo-Sri Lanka Accord: Wikis

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The Indo-Sri Lanka Peace Accord was an accord signed in Colombo on July 29, 1987, between Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and Sri Lankan President J.R. Jayewardene. The accord was expected to resolve the ongoing Sri Lankan civil war. Under the terms of the agreement,[1][2] Colombo agreed to a devolution of power to the provinces the Sri Lankan troops were withdraw to their barracks in the north, the Tamil rebels were to disarm.[3][4]

Importantly however,the Tamil groups, notably the LTTE (which at the time was one of the strongest Tamil force) had not been made party to the talks and initially agreed to surrender their arms to the IPKF only reluctantly. Within a few months however, this flared into an active confrontation. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) declared their intent to continue the armed struggle for an independent Tamil Eelam and refused to disarm. The Indian Peace-Keeping Force 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.

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Sri Lankan Civil War

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]

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Indian Involvement

India had, initially under Indira Gandhi[7][8]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[9] 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.[9] To this end, the Indira Gandhi Government sought to make it clear to the Sri Lankan President, Jayewardene that armed intervention in support of the Tamil movement was an option India would consider if any diplomatic solutions should fail.[9] 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.[9] [10]

Operation Liberation

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.[9][11] 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.[9] In June 1987, the Sri Lankan Army laid siege on the town of Jaffna.[12] As civilian casualties grew[13][14], 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][14]. 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.

Operation Poomalai

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.[9] 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[16]but this was intercepted by the Sri Lankan Navy and turned back.[17]

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 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.[18] 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 sympbolic act of support for the Tamil Rebels, as well to preserve Rajiv Gandhi's credibility.[19]

Faced with the possibility of an active Indian intervention and facing an increasingly war-weary population at home[20], the Sri Lankan President, J. R. Jayewardene, offered to hold talks with the Rajiv Gandhi government on future moves.[12] 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[21] 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 IPKF as a peace keeping force in Sri Lanka.

The 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 underligned the commitment of Indian military assistance on which the Indian Peace Keeping Force 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 Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and government forces committed serious human rights violations against one another.

In January 1995, the Sri Lankan Government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam agreed to a cease fire as a preliminary step in a government-initiated plan for peace negotiations. After 3 months, however, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam 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.

References

  1. ^ a b ETHNIC POLITICS AND CONSTITUTIONAL REFORM: THE INDO-SRI LANKAN ACCORD. Marasinghe M.L. Int Compa Law Q.Vol. 37. p551-587
  2. ^ a b Sri Lanka: The Untold Story Chapter 35: Accord turns to discord
  3. ^ a b c New Delhi & the Tamil Struggle. The Indo Sri Lanka Agreement. Satyendra N. Tamil Nation
  4. ^ a b c d Text of the Peace accord.Tamil Nation
  5. ^ a b
    Location of Sri Lanka
    Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), World Tamil Association (WTA), World Tamil Movement (WTM), Federation of Associations of Canadian Tamils (FACT), Ellalan Force. GlobalSecurity.org
  6. ^ a b The Peace Accord and the Tamils in Sri Lanka.Hennayake S.K. Asian Survey, Vol. 29, No. 4. (Apr., 1989), pp. 401-415.
  7. ^ India's search for power:Indira Gandhi's Foreign Policy.1966-1982. Mansingh S. New Delhi:Sage 1984. p282
  8. ^ A commission, before it proceeded to draw up criminal proceedings against others, must recommend Indira Gandhi's posthumous prosecution Mitra A. Rediff on Net
  9. ^ a b c d e f g India's Regional Security Doctrine. Hagerty D.T. Asian Survey, Vol. 31, No. 4. (Apr., 1991), pp. 351-363
  10. ^ Research and Analysis Wing. Fas.org
  11. ^ The Colombo Chill. Bobb D.India Today.March 31.1986. p95.
  12. ^ a b India Airlifts Aid to Tamil Rebels", The New York Times. 5 June 1987
  13. ^ 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
  14. ^ a b India Enters; The Airdrop and the L.T.T.E.'s Dilemma.
  15. ^ Growth of Sri Lankan Tamil Militancy in Tamil Nadu.Chapter I - Phase II (1987–1988). Jain Commission Interim Report
  16. ^ "Indians To Send convoy to Sri Lanka", The New York Times. 2 June 1987
  17. ^ "Indian Flotilla is turned back by Sri Lankan Naval Vessels", The New York Times. 4 June 1987
  18. ^ "Indian Air Force in Sri Lanka.Operation Poomalai - The Jaffna Food drop." Bharat-rakshak.com
  19. ^ "Operation Poomalai - India Intervenes" Bharat-rakshak.com
  20. ^ 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.
  21. ^ Background Note: Sri Lanka. U.S Dept. of State

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Up to date as of January 22, 2010

From Wikisource

Indo-Sri Lanka Accord
Information about this edition
The Indo-Sri Lanka Accord was a bilateral agreement signed in Colombo on July 29, 1987, between Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and Sri Lankan President J.R. Jayewardene. The accord was aimed at resolving the ongoing conflict in Sri Lanka. It was, to a large part, forced upon the Sri Lankan administration, and there were widespread protests against India in Colombo following the singing of the accord

To establish peace and normalcy in Sri Lanka

The president of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, his excellency Mr. J.R. Jayawardene, and the Prime Minister of The Republic of India, His Excellency Mr. Rajiv Gandhi, having met at Colombo on July 29, 1987.

Attaching utmost importance to nurturing, intensifying and strengthening the traditional friendship of Sri Lanka and India, and acknowledging the imperative need of resolving the ethnic problem of Sri Lanka, and the consequent violence, and for the safety, wellbeing and prosperity of people belonging to all communities of Sri Lanka.

Have this day entered into the following agreement to fulfill this objective

1. In this context,

1.1 Desiring to preserve the unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Sri Lanka:
1.2 Acknowledging that Sri Lanka is a "multi-ethnic and a multi-lingual plural society" consisting, inter alia, of Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims (Moors) and Burghers:
1.3 Recognising that each ethnic group has a distinct cultural and linguistic identity which has to be carefully nurtured:
1.4 Also recognising that the Northern and the Eastern Provinces have been areas of historical habitation of Sri Lankan Tamil speaking peoples, who have at all times hitherto lived together in this territory with other ethnic groups:
1.5 Conscious of the necessity of strengthening the forces contributing to the unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Sri Lanka, and preserving its character as a multi-ethnic, multi-lingual and multi- religious plural society, in which all citizens can live in equality, safety and harmony, and prosper and fulfill their aspirations:

2. Resolve that:

2.1 Since the Government of Sri Lanka proposes to permit adjoining provinces to join to form one administrative unit and also by a Referendum to separate as may be permitted to the Northern and Eastern Provinces as outlined below:
2.2 During the period, which shall be considered an interim period (i.e. from the date of the elections to the Provincial Council, as specified in para 2.8 to the date of the referendum as specified in para 2.3), the Northern and Eastern Provinces as now constituted, will form one administrative unit, having one elected provincial council. Such a unit will have one Governor, one Chief Minister and one Board of Ministers.
2.3 There will be a Referendum on or before 31st December, 1988 to enable the people of the Eastern Province to decide whether:
a) The Eastern Province should remain linked with the Nothern Province as one administrative unit, and continue to be governed together with the Northern Province as specified in para 2.2 or:
b) The eastern province should constitute a separate administrative unit having its own distinct provincial council with a separate Governor, Chief Minister and Board of Ministers.
The president may, at his discretion, decide to postpone such a referendum.
2.4 All persons who have been displaced due to ethnic violence or other reasons, will have the right to vote in such a referendum. Necessary conditions to enable them to return to areas from where they were displaced will be created.
2.5 The Referendum, when held,will be monitored by a committee headed by the Chief Justice, a member appointed by the President, nominated by the Government of Sri Lanka, and a member appointed by the president, nominated by the representatives of the Tamil speaking people of the Eastern Province.
2.6 A simple majority will be sufficient to determine the result of the Referendum.
2.7 Meetings and other forms of propaganda, permissible within the laws of the country, will be allowed before the Referendum.
2.8 Elections to Provincial Councils will be held within the next three months, in any event before 31st December 1987. Indian observers will be invited for elections to the Provincial Council of the north and east.
2.9 The emergency will be lifted in the Eastern and Northern Provinces by Aug. 15, 1987. A cessation of hostilities will come into effect all over the island within 48 hours of signing of this agreement. All arms presently held by militant groups will be surrendered in accordance with an agreed procedure to authorities to be designated by the Government of Sri Lanka.
Consequent to the cessation of hostilities and the surrender of arms by militant groups, the army and other security personnel will be confined to barracks in camps as on 25 May 1987. The process of surrendering arms and the confining of security personnel moving back to barracks shall be completed within 72 hours of the cessation of hostilities coming into effect.
2.10 The Government of Sri Lanka will utilise for the purpose of law enforcement and maintenance of security in the Northern and Eastern Provinces the same organisations and mechanisms of Government as are used in the rest of the country.
2.11 The President of Sri Lanka will grant a general amnesty to political and other prisoners now held in custody under The Prevention of Terrorism Act and other emergency laws, and to combatants, as well as to those persons accused, charged and/or convicted under these laws. The Government of Sri Lanka will make special efforts to rehabilitate militant youth with a view to bringing them back into the mainstream of national life. India will co-operate in the process.
2.12 The Government of Sri Lanka will accept and abide by the above provisions and expect all others to do likewise.
2.13 If the framework for the resolutions is accepted, the Government of Sri Lanka will implement the relevant proposals forthwith.
2.14 The Government of India will underwrite and guarantee the resolutions, and co-operate in the implementation of these proposals.
2.15 These proposals are conditional to an acceptance of the proposals negotiated from 4.5.1986 to 19.12.1986. Residual matters not finalised during the above negotiations shall be resolved between India and Sri Lanka within a period of six weeks of signing this agreement. These proposals are also conditional to the Government of India co-operating directly with the Government of Sri Lanka in their implementation.
2.16 These proposals are also conditional to the Government of India taking the following actions if any militant groups operating in Sri Lanka do not accept this framework of proposals for a settlement, namely,
a) India will take all necessary steps to ensure that Indian territory is not used for activities prejudicial to the unity, integrity and security of Sri Lanka
b) the Indian navy/coast guard will cooperate with the Sri Lankan navy in preventing Tamil militant activities from affecting Sri Lanka.
c) In the event that the Government of Sri Lanka requests the Government of India to afford military assistance to implement these proposals the Government of India will co-operate by giving to the Government of Sri Lanka such military assistance as and when requested.
d) the Government of India will expedite repatriation from Sri Lanka of Indian citizens to India who are resident here, concurrently with the repatriation of Sri Lankan refugees from Tamil Nadu.
e) The Governments of Sri Lanka and India will co-operate in ensuring the physical security and safety of all communities inhabiting the Nothern and Eastern Provinces.
2.17 The government of Sri Lanka shall ensure free, full and fair participation of voters from all communities in the Northern and Eastern Provinces in electoral processes envisaged in this agreement. The Government of India will extend full co-operation to the Government of Sri Lanka in this regard.
2.18 The official language of Sri Lanka shall be Sinhala. Tamil and English will also be official languages.

3. This agreement and the annexure thereto shall come into force upon signature.

In witness whereof we have set our hands and seals hereunto.

Done in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on this the twenty-ninth day of July of the year one thousand nine hundred and eighty seven, in duplicate, both texts being equally authentic.

______________________
Junius Richard Jayawardene
President of the Democratic
Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
______________________
Rajiv Gandhi
Prime Minister of the
Republic of India

ANNEXURE TO THE AGREEMENT

  1. His Excellency the President of Sri Lanka and the Prime Minister of India agree that the Referendum mentioned in paragraph 2 and its subparagraphs of the agreement will be observed by a representative of the election Commission of India to be invited by His Excellency the President of Sri Lanka.
  2. Similarly, both heads of Government agree that the elections to the provincial council mentioned in paragraph 2.8 of the agreement will be observed and all para-military personnel will be withdrawn from the eastern and northern provinces with a view to creating conditions conducive to fair elections to the council.
  3. The President, in his discretion shall absorb such para-military forces, which came into being due to ethnic violence, into the regular security forces of Sri Lanka.
  4. The President of Sri Lanka and the Prime Minister of India agree that the Tamil militants shall surrender their arms to authorities agreed upon to be designated by the President of Sri Lanka. The surrender shall take place in the presence of one senior representative each of the Sri Lanka Red Cross and the Indian Red Cross.
  5. The President of Sri Lanka and the Prime Minister of India agree that a joint Indo-Sri Lankan observer group consisting of qualified representatives of the Government of Sri Lanka and the Government of India would monitor the cessation of hostilities from 31 July 1987.
  6. The President of Sri Lanka and the Prime Minister of India also agree that in the terms of paragraph 2.14 and paragraph 2.16(c) of the agreement, an Indian peace keeping contingent may be invited by the President of Sri Lanka to guarantee and enforce the cessation of hostilities, if so required.

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