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JR was forced into deal with India, CIA papers reveal

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A recent report brings to light the clandestine events that may have lead up to the Indo-Lanka Accord in 1987

Declassified CIA documents reveal that former Sri Lankan President J. R. Jayewardene told an American envoy that the Government of Sri Lanka was forced into making a deal with the Indian Government as the Sri Lankan troops at the time twice refused to launch attacks to recapture Jaffna. A recent report in Indian national newspaper; The Hindu revealed this information quoting the recently declasified CIA document, yesterday. 

President Jayewardene made these remarks to the visiting American diplomat Peter Galbraith, about the agreement the Government of Sri Lanka reached with India to deploy the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) in Sri Lanka.

Four years following the peace deal signed in July, 1987, the then Indian Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi, was assassinated by the LTTE for his role in the deal.

The declassified document also reveals that the then Indian Government shared the Sri Lankan administration’s hostility towards the LTTE. Officials of the Indian Government called Velupillai Prabhakaran, the slain Leader of the LTTE, a ‘mad fellow’, the document adds.

The report further adds that India was ““rapidly expanding” its armed forces to “intervene” in Sri Lanka, and that the American spy agency may have played a behind the scenes role in opening up back-end channels for communications between President Jayawardene and India.

The Hindu further reports that President Jayawardene held a very negative view towards the Indians as he accused India for helping to train the Tamil insurgents in Sri Lanka. the report further goes on to state that the then President had conveyed this to the then US Senator, Charles H. Percy, saying;  “I am a very peaceful man. But India’s role in this [ethnic] matter is reprehensible and the Indians have to be held responsible for their actions.”

Percy, who reportedly carried a letter from U.S. President Ronald Reagan to Jayewardene, “offered to be of assistance in conveying any message” from the Sri Lankan President to Rajiv Gandhi.

It is further reported that the CIA had, at that time assessed that India would intervene in Sri Lanka only under two circumstances; one, if the government collapsed and, the other, if Tamil insurgents established a separate State.

“In our view, an Indian intervention would most likely come [exactly what happened in 1987], as in 1971 [to deal with Marxist insurgents] following a request from Colombo to help in restoring internal order,” the assessment said. 

The recorded conversation between Jayewardene and Galbraith reportedly took place in February, 1988.

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