Tamil Question in India-Sri Lanka Relations

  Aug 04, 2023

Tamil Question in India-Sri Lanka Relations

What is the "Tamil question" in India-Sri Lanka relations?

The "Tamil question" refers to the longstanding issue of the Tamil minority in Sri Lanka, particularly in the Northern and Eastern provinces, seeking greater autonomy and devolution of powers. The Tamil community has faced historical grievances, including concerns over language, culture, and political representation, leading to tensions in bilateral relations between India and Sri Lanka.

What was the outcome of President Ranil Wikramasinghe's visit?

The leaders of India and Sri Lanka, Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi and President Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe, have adopted a vision document to significantly expand their economic partnership. The document aims to strengthen cooperation in areas such as tourism, power, trade, higher education, skill development, and connectivity between the two countries. They also discussed finalizing an agreement for the launch of the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) to establish a fintech connection. The leaders emphasized the importance of working together to address each other's security interests and sensitivities. Additionally, a feasibility assessment for a petroleum pipeline between India and Sri Lanka will be conducted. The President of Sri Lanka expressed his belief that India's growth would benefit the neighborhood and the Indian Ocean Region.

India and Sri Lanka outlined a forward-looking vision for their economic partnership, titled "Promoting Connectivity, Catalysing Prosperity: India-Sri Lanka Economic Partnership Vision." The vision focuses on five key areas: maritime, air, energy, trade, and people-to-people initiatives, aimed at enhancing connectivity and trade between the two countries.

What did Prime Minister Narendra Modi emphasize during the visit?

Prime Minister Modi made a sharp appeal during his speech for the implementation of the 13th Amendment and the conduct of Provincial Council elections in Sri Lanka. He also stressed the need to ensure a life of respect and dignity for the Sri Lankan Tamil community.

How does the Tamil issue impact India-Sri Lanka ties?

The Tamil issue has been a source of tension in India-Sri Lanka relations in the past. Any vision for the future economic partnership that does not address the concerns of the Tamil community may be seen as incomplete and could affect the overall relationship between the two countries.

What is the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution of Sri Lanka?

The Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution of Sri Lanka, passed in 1987, created Provincial Councils in the country. It aimed at devolving powers to the provinces and establishing a system of provincial governance.

What are the key provisions of the Thirteenth Amendment?

The key provisions of the Thirteenth Amendment include the establishment of Provincial Councils, recognition of Sinhala and Tamil as the official languages of the country, and the designation of English as the "link language" to promote communication between different language-speaking communities.

When was the Thirteenth Amendment enacted and what led to its passage?

The Thirteenth Amendment was enacted in 1987. It was a result of the Indo-Sri Lanka Accord signed between Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and Sri Lankan President J.R. Jayewardene in 1987. The accord aimed at devolving powers to the provinces to address the grievances of ethnic minorities, particularly the Tamil community.

What was the objective of the Thirteenth Amendment?

The main objective of the Thirteenth Amendment was to address the demands for regional autonomy and power-sharing by the Tamil community in Sri Lanka. By creating Provincial Councils, it sought to provide a mechanism for local governance and decision-making in certain areas.

What are the challenges associated with implementing the Thirteenth Amendment?

One of the major challenges in implementing the Thirteenth Amendment has been devolving powers related to land, police, and finance to the provinces. The government has emphasized the need for a structure that is acceptable to all parts of the country to ensure effective devolution without creating further tensions.

How significant is the Thirteenth Amendment in Sri Lanka's political landscape?

The Thirteenth Amendment is a crucial milestone in Sri Lanka's political history as it represents an attempt to address the issue of regional autonomy and power-sharing. However, its full implementation and effectiveness have been subject to ongoing debates and challenges. Sinhala nationalist are opposing devolution of power to Tamil provinces.

Has the Thirteenth Amendment achieved its intended goals?

The effectiveness and success of the Thirteenth Amendment in achieving its intended goals have been a matter of contention. While it created Provincial Councils and recognized the languages, there have been debates on the extent of devolution and the actual empowerment of the provinces.


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