India-Sri Lanka peace accord marks 20 years with war

July 30, 2007 (AFP) – When India and Sri Lanka signed a peace pact two decades ago it was hailed as a landmark that could end Asia’s longest running civil war. But since then, the bloodshed has only got worse.

The 1987 accord envisaged the disarming of Tamil Tiger separatists by India, which had armed and provided them safe haven, and Sri Lanka granting greater autonomy to its ethnic minority.

Neither was done, said analysts, who now question the accord’s relevance.

“I think the Indo-Sri Lanka agreement is now passe,” said retired Sri Lankan diplomat Nanda Godage who was involved in negotiations at the time.

The pact, signed on July 29 and supported by the United States, European powers and the United Nations was resisted by hardliners on both sides of the ethnic divide in Sri Lanka.

It led to riots that claimed at least 50 lives.

Then Indian premier Rajiv Gandhi signed the accord with Sri Lankan president Junius Jayewardene in curfew-bound Colombo. Four years later, Gandhi was assassinated by a suspected Tamil Tiger suicide bomber.

Both the majority Sinhalese and the minority Tamils have objected to the accord for different reasons. The Sinhalese saw the accord leading to In