You are here: Home » Current Affairs » News » National
Business Standard

Sri Lankan minister criticises India for power-sharing call with Tamils

India in 1987 intervened to end the civil war between Sri Lankan government forces and minority ethnic Tamil rebels

sri lanka | India-Sri Lanka | rajapaksa

AP  |  Colombo 

Narendra Modi, Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa
Prime Minister Narendra Modi (R) shakes hands with Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa prior to a meeting at Hyderabad House, in New Delhi

A Sri Lankan minister said Thursday that India has no moral right to interfere in the country's internal affairs by insisting on power sharing with minority Tamils because New Delhi failed to fulfil its obligations under a 1987 agreement to disarm separatist rebels and ensure an end to Sri Lanka's civil war.

Provincial Councils Minister Sarath Weerasekara's comments in Parliament are seen as the island nation's response to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's request last month to his Sri Lankan counterpart, Mahinda Rajapaksa, for the full implementation of constitutional provisions for power sharing with Tamil minority regions.

In a phone conversation on September 27, Modi asked to to address the aspirations of the Tamil people for equality, justice, peace and respect within a united ... with the implementation of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution of Sri Lanka," according to a statement from Sri Lanka's foreign ministry.

The Indo-Accord called for the devolution of power to the provinces and resulted in the 13th Amendment to the Sri Lankan Constitution, which created provincial councils with a degree of decentralised power. Weerasekara is the minister in charge of the councils.

Weerasekara said chose last year not to criticise India's revocation of statehood for Jammu and Kashmir region because it was an internal matter, while Modi may have called for power sharing with Tamils because India was party to the earlier agreement with

I have my reservations about the Indo-Lanka accord ... did India honour her part in that agreement? Weerasekara asked, adding that India had failed to ensure disarmament, an end to hostilities and the resettlement of displaced people.

So there is serious concern about the validity of the agreement, and if it's not valid I think India has no moral right to interfere in our affairs," Weerasekara said.

India in 1987 intervened to end the civil war between Sri Lankan government forces and minority ethnic Tamil rebels. Sri Lankan Tamils have family, linguistic and cultural ties with Tamils in South India, and India was eager that the conflict in its neighbouring country did not create unrest within its own territory.

India sent a peacekeeping force to implement the agreement but ended up fighting with the rebels before returning home with heavy losses. In 1991, a suspected Tamil Tiger suicide bomber killed former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, who had signed the agreement.

Sri Lankan government forces crushed the rebels in 2009, ending a 26-year civil war that killed at least 100,000 people, according to the U.N.

Successive Sri Lankan governments have pledged to India and the U.S. that they will share more power with the Tamils to ensure peace, but President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who was elected last November, has rejected the idea.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

Dear Reader,

Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.
We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

First Published: Thu, October 08 2020. 23:52 IST