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INDIA AND SRI LANKA AND 13th AMENDMENT

  Jun 20, 2020

INDIA AND SRI LANKA AND 13th AMENDMENT

(Visit of Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa)

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa chose India as the destination for his first trip abroad after assuming office. Rajapaksa, is on a four-day visit to India. Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had visited New Delhi in November 2019 soon after his election.

Topics discussed:

  1. discussed cooperation in counterterrorism with his Indian counterpart
  2. Ways to take forward the use of two lines of credit totalling $450 million offered by India last year
  3. Mr Rajapaksa sought to strike a balance between Sri Lanka’s ties with India, and those with other regional players, such as China and Pakistan, describing India as a “relation” and the others as friends.

What was the major outcome?

The Government used Mr Rajapaksa’s visit to raise India’s concerns about the incomplete process of reconciliation and the devolution of powers to Sri Lanka’s Tamil minority. India held that Colombo must rise to the occasion to meet the Tamil people’s expectations for equality, justice, peace and respect by implementing the 13th amendment to the constitution.

What is the 13th Amendment of Constitution?

The Sri Lankan Parliament passed the Thirteenth Amendment to the constitution in 1987 with the objective of creating provincial councils in north and east  based on the provisions of the Indo-Sri Lanka Accord of July 1987; also, the establishment of a high court in each province, and to make Tamil one of the official languages with English as the link language.

What is 13th Amendment Plus?

After the defeat of the LTTE, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa had given assurance to India as well as the international community that the government would go beyond the Thirteenth Amendment to devolve substantial powers to the Tamil majority areas under ‘13th Amendment Plus.’ However, President Rajapaksa never made it clear what exactly he meant by ‘13th Amendment Plus.’

What is Sri Lanka’s stand on the 13th Amendment at present?

The Sri Lankan president said there couldn’t be full devolution of powers against the wishes of the Sinhala majority and Mr Rajapaksa.He ruled out any resolution in the Tamil-inhabited areas that isn’t acceptable to Sri Lanka’s majority community. Sri Lanka President has asked for finding alternative solution.