March 31, 2023
  • India considers the full implementation of the 13th Amendment in Sri Lanka “critical” for achieving reconciliation with the minority Tamil community, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said recently.


  • In 1987, India and Sri Lanka signed an agreement to implement the 13thamendment of the Sri Lankan constitution.
  • According to the agreement, the Sri Lankan Government will provide powers to the Tamil community in the country.
  • According to India, 13A is essential for the Sri Lankan Government to reconcile with the Tamil community in the country.

What is 13A?

  • 13A is the 13thamendment of the Sri Lankan constitution.
  • The 13A provides for the devolution of power to the Tamil community.
    • Tamilians are the minority in the country of Sri Lanka.
  • The Tamil community in the country is demanding a separate state. In 1987, with the Indian Union Government’s efforts, the Sri Lankan Government agreed to increase the powers of Tamilians in the country through 13A. However, 13A was not implemented.


  • Sri Lanka has had a long history of failed negotiations to end the Tamil claim of discrimination by allowing some form of political autonomy.
  • An Indian effort in 1987 that created the system of a joint provincial council for the Tamil-dominated north and east faltered as the Tamils claimed it fell short of full autonomy.
    • Tamils say that not enough power had been devolved to the provincial councils to make them meaningful.
  • President Wickremesinghe himself tried an aborted constitutional effort between 2015-19 which too came to be scuttled by the hardline majority politicians.
  • The Tamils put forward their demand for autonomy since gaining independence from Britain in 1948 which from the mid-70s turned into a bloody armed conflict.
  • Over the years, the Sri Lankan government has been aggressive against Tamilian groups following its war with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).The LTTE ran a military campaign for a separate Tamil homeland in the northern and eastern provinces of the island nation for nearly 30 years before its collapse in 2009 after the Sri Lankan Army killed its supreme leader Velupillai Prabhakaran.
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