|Sri Lanka told India it would implement a
devolution plan for Tamil areas going beyond the
13th Amendment to its Constitution, but Indian
officials were privately sceptical of the assurance.
Several U.S. Embassy cables accessed by The Hindu
through WikiLeaks reveal that India pushed Sri Lanka
on its devolution plans for months before the
conclusion of the military operation against the
The cables also reveal that the U.S. sought a bigger
role in pushing a political solution for Tamils but
was kept at bay by India.
As the military operations were drawing to a close,
Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon told the U.S.
Embassy Charge d’Affaires Peter Burleigh on May 15,
2009 that the Sri Lankan government had reassured
India that ‘the government would focus on the
implementation of the 13th Amendment Plus as soon as
possible.’ (207268: confidential, May 15, 2009)
But, the cable notes, ‘Menon was sceptical.’
National Security Adviser M. K. Narayanan was a mite
more optimistic. Returning from a visit to Sri Lanka
on April 24, he had told the U.S. Charge that
President Mahinda Rajapaksa “intends to pursue
political devolution (‘the thirteenth amendment
plus’) and will make a gesture soon to win over Sri
Lanka’s Tamils.” (204118: confidential, April 25,
Earlier, in January 2009, the U.S. Embassy
in Colombo reported in a cable (189383:
confidential, January 29, 2009) on External Affairs
Minister Pranab Mukherjee’s visit that President
Rajapaksa had spoken of a 13th Amendment Plus plan.
Briefing the U.S. Embassy’s Deputy Chief of Mission
and other diplomats, the Indian Deputy High
Commissioner in Colombo, Vikram Misri, said Mr.
Mukherjee’s visit was mainly to press Sri Lanka on
ensuring the safety of civilians during the military
operation against the LTTE.
In discussions with the Indian Minister on the
political front, the cable noted, “President
Rajapaksa said he supports a 13th Amendment-plus
approach, but did not specify what the ‘plus’ would
It is no secret that even before 2009, India wanted
Sri Lanka to hasten on a political settlement to the
Tamil question that would go beyond the 13th
Amendment that flowed from the 1987 Indo-Sri Lanka
Accord. The cables only confirm this. (The Hindu)