Brief on India-Sri Lanka Relations

India is Sri Lanka's closest and historically the most important neighbou r. The two count are separated physically by the Palk Straits, amongst the narrowest waterways separat any two countries. The two Governments have built upon a legacy of historic links, comm culture, shared commitment to democracy and a general orientation towards non-alignm in foreign policy. India aims to maintain close, cordial and cooperative relations with Lanka at both popular and government levels. As a close neighbour to which both Sinhala and Tamil communities trace their roots, internal developments in Sri Lanka hav major bearing on India's policy towards that country, which consists of a commitment to unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Sri Lanka and to the restoration of lasting pe through a peaceful, negotiated settlement that meets the just aspirations of all elements Sri Lankan society.

Political 2. The institutional framework for the relationship is provided by frequent con at the highest political level. President Mahinda Rajapaksa made his fir st visit abroad India after his victory at the November 2005 elections from December 27 -30, 2005. Pr Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee visited Colombo from July 28-31, 1998 to attend the SAARC Summit and had bilateral meetings on the sidelines with President Chand Bandaranaike Kumaratunga and Leader of Opposition Ranil Wickremesinghe. A Jo Commission was established in 1990 and is chaired by the Minister for External Affairs a his Sri Lankan counterpart. Its 6th meeting took place in Colombo on June 10, 2005. Ther regular contact at the official level including annual Foreign Office Consultations at the le of Foreign Secretary (the last such meeting was held in Colombo on May 2, 2005), reg Commerce Secretary level talks (last held in New Delhi in January 2006), talks betw Customs authorities, fisheries officials, the Navy/Coast Guards and a Joint Busin Council.

3. The juridical framework for the relationship is provided by a Free Trade Agreem (singed in 1998 with entry into force in 2000), a Double Taxation Avoidance Agreemen Bilateral Investment Protection and Promotion Agreement, and bilateral agreements/Mo on Air Services, Cooperation in Small Scale Industries, Cooperation in Tourism, IT, Spa Education and Agriculture. Work on augmenting the institutional and juridical framewor being undertaken through negotiations to craft a Comprehensive Economic Partners Agreement (CEPA) and a MoU on Fisheries. An MoU on Small Development Projects been signed to give a new direction to bilateral development cooperation.

4. Sri Lanka has supported through a statement at the UN General Assembly Ind candidature to the permanent membership of the UN Security Council. 5. India was the first country to respond to Sri Lanka's request for assistance after

tsunami on 26 December 2004. Teams of naval and army officers, ships and aircraft provid a continuous µbridge' of assistance in fields such as search and rescue, provision essential items, repair of damaged i nfrastructure, health, clearing of harbours psychological counseling and reached into affected areas in the North, East and the Sou The Prime Minister has announced a grant of Indian Rupees 100 crores for tsunami rela rehabilitation projects in Sri Lanka. Health, transport infrastructure, livelihood activity exchange of µsoft skills' on disaster management are the focus of Indian assistance post-tsunami reconstruction.

6. Today while not being directly involved in the peace process, India consults closely w the Government of Sri Lanka, the facilitators (Norway) and different strands of democr opinion in Sri Lanka, including on Sri Lanka's efforts to build a national consensus o negotiated solution within a united Sri Lanka and on the basis of maximum devolution. In stands ready to share with Sri Lanka her own experience of unity in diversity, plu democracy and devolution. India is also one with Sri Lanka in rejecting war and conflict a in opposing terrorism, which constitutes the biggest threat to democratic societies today.

Economic and Development Cooperation 7. Since the entry into force of the FTA in Ma 2000, trade has grown rapidly. Bilateral trade exceeded US $ 1.7 billion in 2004 and rose US $ 2.025 b in 2005. Exports from India to Sri Lanka in 2004 amounted to US$ 1350 mill while exports from Sri Lanka to India in the same year amounted to US$ 382 million. Th figures were US $ 1.437 b and US $ 588 m respectively in 2005. The FTA prompted a 25 increase in bilateral trade between 2001 and 2004. At 15% of the total, India is the bigg source of Sri Lankan imports. It is also the 3rd largest destination for Sri Lankan expo With FDI approvals of US $ 450 million, India is the 4th largest investor in Sri Lanka. Ind Oil Corporation, Taj Hotels, Apollo Hospitals, L & T, Ambujas, Tatas and Ashok Leyland among the prominent Indian companies operating in Sri Lanka. Connectivity between two countries is at an all time high with approximately 100 flights per week, including Indian private airlines, to and from 10 destinations in India. 8. India is active in a num of areas of development activity in Sri Lanka. About one -sixth of the total developm credit granted by Government of India is made available to Sri Lanka. At present two line credit are operational. These are a US $ 100 million line for capital goods, consum durables, consultancy services and food items and a US $ 31 million line of credit for sup of 300,000 tonnes of wheat. A US $ 150 million line of credit for purchase of petrole products is operational as of March 2005. Another one of US $ 100 million, earlier slated rural infrastructure projects including a road between Anuradhapura and Trincomalee to named the Rajiv Gandhi Amity Highway, is now being made available for post -tsun rehabilitation of the coastal railway line. Besides ITEC scholarships (70 slots annually), T of Colombo Plan (50 slots) and BIMSTEC (30 slots), India also contributes to the Cey

Workers Education Trust that aims at the educational development of the children of es workers. A new scheme of Mahatama Gandhi scholarships has just been inaugurated enable meritorious Sri Lankans to pursue their studies in Sri Lanka. A number of proje are also implemented under Aid to Sri Lanka funds. Important projects under considerat include a 150 bed general hospital at Hatton in the Central Province and a US $ 7.5 mil Cancer Centre in Colombo. A special area of focus is the North and the East. India committed to develop a Master Plan for the development of Trincomalee.

9. Next steps in the FTA process While the Free Trade Agreement has worked well; ther scope for significant improvement. Currently the Agreement covers only goods; there a large number of items in the negative lists (429 items in case of India, 1180 items in case Sri Lanka as well as quantitative caps on tea and textiles) and implementation of Agreement has thrown up another set of issues. The two sides are jointly addressing th practical difficulties arising out of the implementation of the FTA. Work is simultaneou underway to move to the next step of economic integration by expediting Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) between the two countries Joint Study Group on the subject set up in October 2003 has given its report recommended an enhanced policy framework for trade in goods building upon experience of the FTA and also including trade in services and measures to enhance flo of investment by addressing regulatory and operational constraints. Commerce Secret level talks in Colombo in August 2004 broadly discussed the scope of CEPA as well as of the JSG report as a reference document for possible approaches and negotiations follow-up round in New Delhi on February 10-11, 2005 resulted in the setting up of a Tr Negotiating Committee and its sub-groups which have since met in New Delhi and Colom with a view to finalizing the Agreement by end-2006.

10. Cooperation in the energy sector India and Sri Lanka have decided to set up a 500 coal-based thermal plant at Trincomalee through a joint venture between the Cey Electricity Board (CEB) and NTPC. In the hydrocarbons sector, Lanka Indian Oil Corpora now operates 170 petrol pumps in Sri Lanka and has successfully raised money through IPO to fund expansion of its activities, including the setting up a lubes plant in Trincoma ONGC is examining the possibility of exploration for oil and gas in Sri Lankan waters team visited Sri Lanka and held discussions with Sri Lankan authorities on poss exploration in the Ramnad-Mannar sector. During his visit in May 2006, Foreign Minis Mangala Samaraweera offered one block to ONGC on a preferential basis.

11. Connectivity Projects to enhance connectivity, including through the construction o land bridge over the Palk Straits and ferry services between Colombo and Kochi/Tutico have also received the attention of the two governments. Ideas such a s developin

µRamayana Trail' for Indian tourists in Sri Lanka, now numbering more than 110,0 common cruises between Sri Lanka and southern Indian states, and special packages ( in Andhra Pradesh) for Buddhist pilgrims visiting India have also been mooted to encour greater people-to-people links and travel between the two countries.

Cultural and parliamentary cooperation 12. An Indian Cultural Centre in Colombo w formally inaugurated by Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee on July 30, 1998 and actively promoting awareness of Indian culture through its programmes and activities. students are enrolled in classes in 8 disciplines including Hindi, Yoga, classical dance a music. An India-Sri Lanka Foundation was set up on December 28, 1998 through a MoU activities are financed through interest accrued to a Trust Fund made available by the Governments. It has implemented more than 150 projects in the fields of culture, academ health, S&T and archaeology. Separately India has committed to restore the Tirukeeteswa Kovil in Mannar and the Mulkirigala Raja Mahavihara in Hambantota. An India -Sri La Parliamentary Friendship Association was set up in the Sri Lankan Parliament on December 2005. Its office bearers include the P rime Minister, the Leader of Opposit senior cabinet ministers and parliamentarians from all parties. A corresponding group w 15 members from Lok Sabha and 7 from Rajya Sabha has been set up in India.

Defence Cooperation 13. There has been a quantum increase in the number of train slots offered to Sri Lankan armed forces personnel in recent years. The training of Lankan officers in Indian institutes has helped strengthen ties between the services of two countries. High Level visits are regular. The Sri Lankan CDS Vice Admiral D Sandagiri visited India in June 2005. It is axiomatic that given the geographic proximity India and Sri Lanka their security is inseparable.

Dialogue January - March, 2004 , Volume 5 No. 3
India and Sri Lanka: A Changing Relationship P. Sahadevan

Sri Lanka has been one of India¶s assertive neighbours. In the past island state¶s desire to assert its identity in international relations and cultivated threat perception marred India-Sri Lanka relations. As a matter of f the bilateral relationship weathered many potentially destabilizing storms a

even touched the rock bottom in the mid-1980s but never did they reach a p of saturation or complete disruption or breakdown. That both the countries h a developed adequate strength to withstand the stresses and strains is a nota feature of their bilateral relations. However, the entire gamut of their relatio spreading over five decades cannot be viewed in a single framework. Th have been shifts and changes in the pattern of relationship marked by mut differences, irritants, co-operation and friendship. In this framework there been simultaneity of divergence and convergence of views and perceiv common interests between the two countries. The purpose of the paper is to analyse the trajectories India-Sri Lan relations have followed in the post-independence period. Based on the nature relations and the issues dominating the bilateral agenda, the whole history relations can be divided into four distinct phases²Decades of differenc (1947-63), Resolving the disputes (1964-82), Troubled years (1983-90) a Restoring friendship (since 1991). Each of these phases is critically examin against the backdrop of factors determining India-Sri Lanka relations.

There are five important factors that have determined the relationship. First, geo-strategic configuration of both the countries has been the most compuls factor in their relations. India is Sri Lanka¶s closest neighbour, separated b narrow stretch of waters in the Palk Strait covering about 20 miles. T implication of such a close proximity is that developments in each country ha affected the other. Their bilateral relations have been influenced accordingly. T geo-strategic factor is significant in a different way also. Sri Lanka is located what Prime Minister D.S. Senanayake called ³the strategic highway´. centrality in the Indian Ocean has had strategic advantages and disadvantag While the island¶s location increased its vulnerability mostly during the cold period marked by the militarization of the Indian Ocean, it has also been an as

from the standpoint of Sri Lanka¶s foreign and security policy. Buttressed b strategically important natural harbour in Trincomalee in the Eastern provin Sri Lanka had used its location to neutralise India¶s position by cultiva extra-regional powers and even expressing its desire to give base facili especially to the United States in the 1980s. India is always worried about harbour¶s status; its occupation by any external power is considered as a thr to its security. It must be stated that much of the strategic divergence in 1980s arose out of the Sri Lankan government¶s conscious decision to use strategic location against the Indian interests.

Second, asymmetry of power between India and Sri Lanka is also a factor their relations. India is over 50 times more than Sri Lanka in terms of area a population. Unlike India Sri Lank has a very small economic and technolog base. Tea and tourism industries form a mainstay of the Sri Lankan econom The country¶s military strength is inadequate even to protect its national secur The asymmetrical power factor made the Sinhalese ruling elite deeply suspici of India in the past. They looked upon India as, in the words of Ivor Jennings mountain that might, at any time, send down destructive avalanches´. J Jayewardene, former President, said in 1954 that ³History has shown adventures and men with imperialistic ideas may at any moment gain contro the reins of government in a state, and if that happens in India, the sma nations that are her neighbours would have to seek protection not from exte aggression but from Indian aggression´.

Third, Sri Lanka¶s historical antecedents formed a factor in its relations w India. The island¶s history is integrated with that of India, which played significant role in shaping the course of events in the past. India¶s str influence or µIndian-ness¶ is quite evident in the Sri Lankan society, as the ro of most of its population lay in India. The Sinhalese went from the Indo-Gange

plain in the ancient period and the Sri Lankan Tamils migrated from South In Buddhism was introduced from India during the rule of King Ashoka. T Sinhalese language belongs to the Indo-Aryan language family. As a result, Lanka has always felt the need to assert its separate identity in the foreign po arena. In this context, the memories of frequent Tamil invasions from Tamil N and destruction of the Sinhalese Buddhist civilisation and the cross-bound ethnic linkages between the Tamils across the Palk Strait have created a f complex in the minds of the majority Sinhalese. In the past, they conside themselves as a minority in the South Asian regional context despite the fact t they formed a numerical majority in the island. The fear and minority complex the Sinhalese reflected in the country¶s foreign policy and relations with India.

Fourth, the internal political forces in India have influenced the tenor of relatio Given its strong ethnic linkages and geographical proximity with the island, Ta Nadu has always showed an interest in India-Sri Lanka relations. Success governments in Delhi could not ignore the views and sentiments of Tamil Na because of its being a politically sensitive and articulate state. In succumbing the Tamil Nadu pressure, the national political parties have had their electo interest and federal cohesion in mind. It must be noted that while responding Tamil Nadu¶s pressure, the Indian government has never allowed the sta opinions to shape and determine the nature of its response. Three incidents be quoted here. India signed the 1964 agreement on repatriation of the statel Indian Tamils totally against the wishes of Tamil Nadu. Similarly, the 19 agreement on Kachchativu was contrary to the dominant wishes of the state the mid-1980s, while responding to Tamil Nadu¶s demand for a direct Indian r in the conflict, the Central government rejected the state¶s pressure to undert a military intervention with the objective of creating a separate Tamil eelam

shows the limitations of Tamil Nadu in influencing India-Sri Lanka relations. Y

the state remains an important factor in the bilateral context.

Finally, understanding at the level of political leadership and regime has been important factor in India-Sri Lanka relations. Evidently the Congress regime India and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) government in Sri Lanka ha always enjoyed good relations. On the contrary, the United National Party (UN leaders did not enjoy a good rapport with the Congress leaders, but they enjo mutual understanding with the non-Congress leaders. Thus, the relatio remained cordial when the Congress and the SLFP were in power in India a Sri Lanka respectively. Both the countries faced difficulties and irritants under UNP and Congress regimes. At the same time, the relationship was cor under the UNP government headed by President J.R. Jayewardene and Jan Party government led by Prime Minister Moraji Desai. It must be noted t though the µpersonality factor¶ played a role in determining the pattern of bilat relations, it did not work to change the Sri Lankan leaders¶ rigid position on t country¶s problems with India. Instead the Indian leaders became m amenable to the Sri Lankan demand on the issues such as statelessness of Indian Tamils and the Kachchativu dispute. Importantly, at least since 1994, personality factor has lost its importance in the bilateral relationship beca both the UNP and the SLFP leaders follow a pragmatic policy of cultivating In irrespective of the party in power in India.
Decades of Differences (1948-63)

Three issues dominated the bilateral relations in the first phase. The tick issue was related to the statelessness of Indian Tamils who went to the isla during the British colonial period to work on the plantations. The future polit status of the Indian Tamils had loomed large as an issue in the politics of Lanka even during the colonial period. However, it attained highly emo dimensions only since 1948 when the Sinhalese ruling elite undertook measu

to progressively whittle down the basic political rights of the Indian Tam Perceiving the Indian Tamil votes as a major threat to the electoral prospects the UNP, the Sri Lankan government under the UNP Prime Minister, D Senanayake, enacted Citizenship Acts of 1948 and 1949. They were made r and restrictive primarily to deny citizenship to all those who were not indisputa indigenous. The majority of the Indian Tamils found it difficult to comply with provisions of the legislation, and thus became stateless.

Subsequently, Sri Lanka took the stand that all those persons who did not qua for the island¶s citizenship were to be repatriated to India. India howe maintained that the Indian Tamils were no longer Indian nationals, but residents of Sri Lanka who ought to be Sri Lankan citizens owing to their lo stay in the island and contribution to the economic buoyancy of the country however expressed its willingness to absorb as its nationals only those pers who satisfied the citizenship provisions of the Indian Constitution

In this atmosphere of disagreement both India and Sri Lanka conducted bilat negotiations in the 1950s to arrive at a working compromise on the status a rights of the Indian Tamils. Following the official talks in January 1954, Pri Minister Nehru and Premier John Kotelawala signed an agreement which in alia stated that Sri Lanka agreed for the expeditious registration of statel persons as its citizens under the Indian and Pakistani Residents¶ (Citizensh Act of 1949. Those Indian Tamils who were not registered as Sri Lankan citiz would be allowed, if they so desired, to register themselves as Indian citizens accordance with the provisions of Article 8 of the Indian Constitution. The Pa however, was not implemented scrupulously for several reasons, some of wh arose out of the conflicting interpretations of its provisions. Under the circumstances, another bilateral meeting was held in New Delhi in October 19 to resolve the difference. Some progress was made in this regard, but in actua

very little was achieved.

The dispute over Kachchativu, a tiny barren island in the Palk Strait, form another source of bilateral discord. All historical evidence shows that the isla formed a part of the Zamindari of Raja of Ramnad in Tamil Nadu. At the sa time, Sri Lanka did not have sufficient evidence to show that the island belon to it. However the Sri Lankan government made a claim on the ground that ownership of the island was tacitly accepted by the British Indian governme While disagreeing with Sri Lanka, successive Indian leaders showed apathy a indifference towards the territorial dispute. Nehru and his success underplayed the dispute in the interest of bilateral relations. This was evid from their various statements. Nehru virtually toed the Sri Lankan line of argum when he said that the Zamindari rights of the Raja of Ramnad did not con sovereignty over the Kachchativu island. He showed his ignorance and cas approach to the problem when he stated that he was not sure about the location the disputed island. He appeared to be over-cautious about Sri Lanka's sensiti when he maintained that there was no "national prestige" involved in the iss Similarly, fearing an adverse impact on bilateral relations, Indira Gandhi was e reluctant to take a pro-India position on Kachchativu which, in her opinion, wa "sheer rock with no strategic significance".However the dispute remain unresolved until 1974.

The third bilateral issue during the first phase of relations was related divergent security perceptions and policies of both the countries. The crux of matter was that successive Sri Lankan leaders had perceived India to be potential threat to the island¶s security. On this ground, they justified the 1947 Lanka-UK defence agreement. India did not contribute in any way to Sri Lank insecurity. As such, India had been deliberately made out to be a poten source of threat by successive ruling elite because of their strong desire to ass

Sri Lanka¶s identity and achieve a status for themselves vis-à-vis the Ind leaders. Prime Minister Nehru tried to allay the unjustified fears of Sri Lanka assuring the UNP leaders of India¶s goodwill and peaceful intentions. The f that they were not convinced of India¶s assurance and remained baseles suspicious of its intentions showed Colombo¶s extra-strategic considerations pursuing a kind of defence policy that Senanayake and Kotelawala preferr The policy demonstrated their desire to counterpoise India¶s pre-eminen through an adroit strategy of military co-operation by using the countr locational advantage in the Indian Ocean. The 1947 defence agreement w Britain was an outcome of this hidden agenda of the UNP government¶s fore policy; it could also be seen as a small country¶s attempt to assert independence and identity against a big neighbour, India.

India did not criticise Sri Lanka¶s defence policy. Any adverse reaction wo have lent credence to Sri Lanka¶s threat perception and justified its policy ac to counter India. However, the SLFP government during 1956-65 was sensit towards India¶s strategic concerns. India was particularly happy about Pri Minister S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike¶s decision in 1956 to renegotiate on the Bri air and naval bases in Sri Lanka. Although this step sufficiently represented SLFP government¶s demonstration of its friendship with India a Bandaranaike¶s closer identification with Nehru, what intrigued, not as mu India¶s foreign policy establishment as the unofficial quarters, was the future le status of the 1947 Sri Lanka-UK defence agreement, which was not abrogat This means that it can be validated at any time if both the countries so desire.
Resolving the Disputes (1964-82)

The second phase of India-Sri Lanka relations was noteworthy for the resolut of bilateral problems. Solutions to two contending problems²statelessness the Indian Tamils and Kachchativu²were found in 1964 and 1974 when

Congress Party and the SLFP were in power in India and Sri Lanka respectiv The Sirimavo-Shastri Pact of 1964 began the process of resolving the statel question. The Pact, the first of its kind to repatriate the Overseas Indians, sta that out of 9.75 lakh stateless persons in the island, Sri Lanka would gr citizenship to 3 lakh (along with their natural increase), while India agreed accept repatriation to India of 5.25 lakh people (together with their nat increase) after granting its citizenship to them. The future status of the remain 1.5 lakh stateless persons, it was agreed, was to be the subject of a separ agreement between the two governments. The Agreement also laid down t both the processes of granting Sri Lankan citizenship and the repatriation India would have to be completed in 15 years (the duration was extended to years in 1973) and would have to be as evenly phased as possible.

As regards the residue stateless people (numbering 1.5 lakh), India and Lanka agreed to share them in equal numbers under the Agreement of 19 The Agreement, which was to be implemented in two years, would begin operation only after the complete implementation of the 1964 Pact. Therefore concluding two agreements for the Indian Tamils¶ repatriation, India abandon its insistence that the stateless people were Sri Lanka¶s responsibility. Rathe was the joint responsibility of both the governments. Such a shift in India¶s sta was largely made because of its intention to develop irritant-free go neighbourly relations with Sri Lanka, which, in turn, affected the interests of Indian Tamils.

In 1974 India and Sri Lanka resolved the Kachchativu dispute. In extraordinary move to cultivate and befriend the Sri Lankan government, In had easily acceded to Sri Lanka¶s claim over the Kachchativu island under maritime agreement signed on 26 June 1974. This was one of the very instances of India surrendering a small portion of its territory over which

enjoyed a rightful claim of ownership by virtue of the historical evidence that island formed part of the Ramanathapuram Samasthanam. India underrated strategic value of Kachchativu. Today its importance has increased considera in view of the expanding maritime activities of the people of coastal Ramnad a the steady rise in the commercial value of marine products, especially prawn was unfortunate that the Indian leadership looked at the Kachchativu disp entirely in a territorial context and ignored the future commercial importance the Palk Bay region. As such, it did not foresee the problems which Ind fishermen are facing today.

India¶s ineptitude handling of the dispute can be gauged from the m ambiguous way in which Article 5 of the Agreement was framed and understood said that "...Indian fishermen and pilgrims will enjoy access to visit Kachchativu hitherto, and will not be required by Sri Lanka to obtain travel documents or vi for these purposes". While India interpreted the Article in a manner to include traditional fishing rights of the fishermen around Kachchativu, Sri Lanka denied have conferred such rights. Its rather fallacious argument was that the fisherm merely had the right to dry their fishing nets on the island. The point here is t why did not India seek a clear and well-meaning provision for the Ind fishermen's rights, instead of the ambiguous one which contained in agreement? Was the Indian foreign policy establishment so callous that it everything to the decision of Sri Lanka?

The 1976 maritime Agreement between India and Sri Lanka had removed the ambiguity at the official level when it stated that "the fishing vessels and fishermen of one country shall not engage in fishing in the waters of the other" But, for the fishermen of Ramnad such official decisions and proclamations of withdrawing their traditional fishing rights are arbitrary and, therefore, hardly acceptable. Lured by a heavy stock of demersal fish around Kachchativu, they

knowingly or unknowingly cross the Indian maritime boundary to only get shot captured by the Sri Lankan Navy. Thus, the Kachchativu agreement resolved territorial dispute but introduced a new irritant in Indo-Sri Lanka relations.
Troubled years (1983-90)

The July 1983 ethnic violence in Sri Lanka and the subsequent civil w between the Sri Lankan army and the LTTE have made a decisive impact on bilateral relations. India¶s expression of concern over the killing of innoc civilians and its strong desire to protect the interest of Sri Lankan Tamils h created a strong sense of fear in the minds of the Sri Lankan government. T bogy of Indian intervention to create a separate eelam drove the Sri Lank

leadership to undertake a global search for security in 1983-84. What annoy India more was Sri Lanka's strategic gestures to the West against India's secu sensitivities. In desperation to win the US support the Jayewardene administra allegedly extended refuelling and recreation facilities to visiting US naval ships sought to make itself closer to the Western strategic interests by granting a contr for leasing of oil storage tanks in the strategic harbour of Trincomalee to Singapore-based US company. The contract was subsequently revoked when In exposed the manipulation in selecting the tender. Furthermore, Sri Lanka ente into an agreement with the US in December 1983 to set up a powerful Voice America (VOA) station in the island. It was expected to be the largest radio sta with a powerful transmission facility established outside the US. Ind apprehension was that the VOA could be used for intelligence purpose for the Navy in the Indian Ocean. Not only these, Jayewardene tried to seek Britain's dir involvement in the conflict by giving a fresh lease of life to the 1947 defen agreement.

India's firm and categorical stand against external involvement in Sri La frustrated, to a large extent, Colombo's frantic move to build up a strategic des

and nexus in the region aimed at countervailing India. Though many countr (including the UK, the US, China and Pakistan) supplied arms or allowed milit sales on a grant or commercial basis and extended training facilities to the Lankan Army, none of them was prepared to become Sri Lanka's strategic partn in a real sense. The Western powers did not buy Sri Lanka's argument of India a potential aggressor; their advice to the Jayewardene administration to seek Ind help in resolving the ethnic conflict revealed their understanding of the grou reality. In this context, India's well-knit diplomatic campaign, clarifications a assurances worked towards convincing the West of its bona fides vis-à-vis Lanka's security and discouraged countries like the US from accepting a strate foothold in the island. Given their anti-India postures in foreign policy the Chine and Pakistani military support to Sri Lanka was not surprising. Even they, like US and the UK, demonstrated the limits of their military support when In undertook the infamous "Operation Eagle" in June 1987 to para-drop relief supp to beleaguered Jaffna. They disapproved or condemned the Indian action a stepped up military supplies subsequently, but were not prepared to com themselves for Sri Lanka's security.

Amidst the bilateral strategic differences India played a direct role resolving the conflict since 1984. It adopted a two-pronged strategy persuasion and coercion both against the Sri Lankan government and the Lankan Tamil groups on different occasions. The objective behind such a strate was to evolve a viable structure of political settlement through negotiations. Thu India supplied arms and extended training facilities to the militants, it was increase the Sri Lankan Tamils¶ bargaining power vis-à-vis the Sri Lank government. The underlying assumption was that the militants¶ empowerm would intensify their insurgency in the North-East. This coupled with international pressure (especially from Sri Lanka's aid donors) would form a grea force to compel the Sri Lankan government not only to give up its military appro

but also its tough position in negotiations with the Tamils. Many in the island did understand the real purpose of India's strategy of empowerment and misinterpre it as a retrograde step to divide Sri Lanka.

The sustained and prolonged negotiations under Indian media resulted in a bilateral peace accord, which Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi a President Jayewardene signed on 29 July 1987. Importantly, by listing wide-ranging obligations, the Agreement envisaged a participant role for Indi the conflict. It undertook to guarantee the implementation of the Agreement promising various steps--denial of base facilities to the militants in India and Indian Navy's co-operation to prevent their activities--in the event of the Ta militants' refusal to accept peace. In return, Sri Lanka agreed to address Ind security concerns. The letters exchanged between Prime Minister Rajiv Gan and President Jayewardene clearly spelt out the extent to which Sri Lan addressed India's concerns over the presence of `foreign military and intelligen personnel', activities of `foreign broadcasting organisations', possible military use Trincomalee port by external powers and contracting foreign firms to restore a operate the Trincomalee oil farm. While agreeing to consult India on the releva and employment of external military and intelligence agencies and seeking involvement in the restoration of oil tank farm, Sri Lanka undertook to review agreements with foreign broadcasting organisations to ensure their use solely public broadcasting and deny Trincomalee port for military use by "any country manner prejudicial to India's interests". These were simple commitments made Sri Lanka

Thus, in the spirit of reciprocity and mutual accommodation, both India Sri Lanka sought to remove each other's security concerns and threat percept But the general impression was that India, a regional power, coerced a strife-t small country to make extensive unilateral security concessions and offered

military help to the Sri Lankan Army with a view to restricting the island's exter defence contacts. The arrangement was seen as a demonstration of India's des for regional hegemony, subjecting Sri Lanka to be a country dependent on India its security and survival. It was for this reason that some Sinhalese hard-liners ev argued that by conceding to India's security demands, Sri Lanka compromised its independence and sovereignty.

The noteworthy and serious commitment of India was to extend, as and when Lanka requested, military assistance to implement the Agreement. Since it wa primarily for this assistance that Jayewardene carved out an intervener for Ind the request came immediately. India sent a contingent of peacekeeping force about 8,000 men on 30 July 1987; their number rose to around one lakh in course of a full-scale military operation which began against the LTTE in mid-October 1987 in the wake of their refusal to accept the Agreement. In the process Sri Lanka itself legalised the trans-nationalization of the conflict and added a strong military dimension to it. The very fact that the need for the IPK was envisaged in the Annexure to the Agreement indicated the impending problems and obstacles in its smooth implementation. In other words, at the ti of concluding the Agreement, India and Sri Lanka seemed to have anticipated trouble from the LTTE. Once the Indian Army's involvement was sought and promptly obtained by the Sri Lankan President, the use of force to implement Agreement was well within India's commitment. But the cost of intervention wa heavy for the intervener as well as the LTTE. More than 1,200 soldiers (includi a good number of officers) were killed and about 2,500 injured. India spent mo than $ 180 million on the operation. The LTTE also suffered a heavy loss. Abo all, several hundreds of civilians were dead or injured in the IPKF-LTTE war. H the Indian foreign policy and defence establishments jointly tried to inject fines in politico-military planning, much of the confusion regarding the IPKF's definit goal and strategy would have been avoided and the cost of its operation could

have been minimised considerably.

Nevertheless, for India, the IPKF operation turned out to be a thankless Hated by the Sri Lankan Tamils and the Sinhalese alike, the IPKF w characterised as an army of occupation by the Premadasa regime. India protec Sri Lanka's national interest at its own heavy cost, but the Sinhalese refused acknowledge and appreciate its sacrifice. Instead, the Premadasa governm successfully used all unceremonious means to send the IPKF off the island; most notorious way was arming of the LTTE against the IPKF and normalisation relations with the LTTE leadership by holding peace talks during May 1989-Ju 1990. When India rightly insisted on the full implementation of the Agreement a pre-requisite for the withdrawal of the IPKF, the same government that had invi India to underwrite the Agreement now asked India to abandon it. The IPK withdrawal in March 1990 without fulfilling the objectives laid down in the accord to its de-legitimisation.
Restoring friendship (since 1991)

In the post-1990 period, India-Sri Lanka relations have registered an all-rou improvement. The young generation of leaders who have succeeded hawkish old leaders have been pragmatic in pursuing a policy towards India. T latter¶s new policy of non-intervention in the ethnic conflict has also contributed removing the cultivated fear complex of Sri Lanka. The leadership and people in the island have changed their mindset and thinking about India; for first time, India is considered as an asset rather than a threat to the islan security.

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