(1) Sinhalese society, despite being the majority community
in its country, has a deeply felt minority complex in relation
to the link between Sri Lankan Tamils and the Tamils of Tamil
Nadu in India. A conscious effort to remove this complex is a
prerequisite for any, solution of the Sri Lankan ethnic problem.
(2) The Governments of both India and Sri Lanka have to
undertake specific measures to create mutual trust, to educate
public opinion and to evolve policies which will guarantee the
existence of Sri Lanka as a plural society.
(3)The Indian endeavour should be to continuously and
tangibly assure Sri Lanka about India's commitment to Sri
Lanka's independence, unity and territorial integrity.
(4) The Sri Lankan Government should move out its suspicion
and xenophobic mindset and be genuinely responsive to Tamil
political aspirations. Any expectation that Tamil concerns can
be neutralised by a process of political and military
confrontation is not realistic.
(5) The Indo Sri Lanka accord failed because the Sri Lankan
Government and the LTTE agreed to it only for tactical purposes
and with contradictory motives, while India pushed through the
agreement due to lack of patience after nearly four years of
mediatory efforts. The Sri Lankan Government entered the
agreement in the hope that India's direct involvement will help
the Sri Lankan Government to military suppress the LTTE. The
LTTE initially accepted the agreement under the misunderstanding
that the agreement would be the umbrella under which India
will directly intervene in Sri Lanka and help in the creation of
Eelam. India entered the agreement in the expectation that by
directly participating in the agreement, it would overcome the
competing obstinacies of the Sinhalese and the Tamils, thereby
stabilising the situation in Sri Lanka. The predications on
which the agreement was signed and the expectations on which it
was based proved to be inaccurate.
(6) Neither the Sinhalese nor Indian public opinion gave
sustained support to the Indo Sri Lanka agreement despite Tamil
its valid motives and correct objectives. Sri Lankan Tamil
public opinion, while generally supportive of the agreement and
the Indian involvement, did not have sufficient resources or
will to resist the fear and violence generated by the LTTE,
thereby weakening the agreement. Their deeply felt suspicions
about the Sinhala majority also contributed to their stilted
cooperation in implementing the agreement,
(7) Rajiv Gandhi was given inaccurate advice about the
political, military and intelligence factors affecting the
implementability of the agreement by his military, intelligence
and foreign service advisers. He decided to go ahead with the
agreement on wrong predications which led to the hurdles which
the agreement ultimately faced.
(8) The Jayawardene and Premadasa governments did not
completely fulfil the Sri Lankan Government's obligations under
the agreement. Neither did the LTTE fulfil its obligations.
(9) The large scale induction of the IPKF into Sri Lanka was
in some respects an unexpected contingency. The result was the
IPKF undertaking a task without clear briefings and clear
definition of objectives. The situation on the ground itself
changed the objectives and tasks of the IPKF compared to what
was envisaged originally. The IPKF did not have the full backing
of Indian public opinion and faced hostility from Sinhalese
public opinion, while it was viewed with an amount of
reservation and suspicion by the Sri Lankan Tamil population.
They performed their task in excruciatingly adverse
(10) Inter departmental rivalries in the Government of India
resulted in lack of cohesion and coordination between different
agencies of the Government of India engaged in the
implementation of the Indo Sri Lanka agreement.
(11) The situation was compounded further by senior figures
of the Sri Lankan Government actively sabotaging the agreement
for their own political purposes.
(12) There were vested interests abroad desiring a
continuation of the civil war situation in Sri Lanka in terms of
sale of arms, drugs, safeguarding refugee status and political
asylum status and also for maintaining intelligence and security
linkages with foreign entities on the basis of the continuation
of the ethnic crisis.
religious and ethnic reluctance of the Sinhalese majority to
meet Tamil aspirations remains a major hurdle. Only a change of
heart and mind can eradicate this fundamental defect.
(14) India being interested in developments in Sri Lanka
is unavoidable. But, India should not get directly
involved in the internal affairs of Sri Lanka except when Sri
Lankan developments pose a direct and immediate threat to the
security and territorial integrity of India. The Indian
involvement in Sri Lanka between 1983 and 1987 was perhaps
precipitated, now that we have the benefit of hindsight.
Having said all this, it is to be emphasized that the
motivations of Indian involvement in Sri Lanka between 1983 and
1990 was based on concrete apprehensions about India's national
security and India's sincere desire to safeguard the unity and
territorial integrity of Sri Lanka.
The more important lesson which Sri Lanka should take note of
is that if she has to survive as a unified country, the
Sinhalese majority will have to make genuine efforts to respect
the multi ethnic, multi religious and multi linguistic plurality
of the Sri Lankan polity. This acknowledgement can be achieved
only through political processes and not by military means.