Home Contact Us  
   

Sri Lanka - Articles

Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
#4044, 18 July 2013
 

IPCS Debate

Sri Lanka and the 13th Amendment: The Arithmetic of ‘Plus’ and ‘Minus’
N Manoharan
Vivekananda International Foundation
E-mail: mailtomanohar@gmail.com
 

Many decades ago, Bertrand Russell remarked, “Mathematics may be defined as the subject in which we never know what we are talking about, nor whether what we are saying is true.” The arithmetic revolving around the debate on the 13th Amendment to the Sri Lankan Constitution seems to confirm this observation. Suddenly there is an intense interest to know what constitutes “13th Amendment”, “13-plus”, and “13-minus”. Definitions are being floated according to the needs and interests of actors in the Island and beyond.

Thirteen
Through the 13th Amendment, Sri Lanka was divided into nine provinces each governed by a Council headed by an elected Chief Minister. It also merged north and east as one province called Northeast Province, and made Tamil an official language along with Sinhala, and powers were divided under three lists (Provincial, Reserved and Concurrent). Since Colombo never implemented all the provisions of the 13th Amendment, there have never been 13, but only “13-minus”.

Thirteen-Minus
Police and land powers were never devolved. The provinces, especially the northeast, struggled without adequate financial powers. Then came the de-merger of the north and the east in January 2007, thanks to the Sri Lankan Supreme Court ruling. Amendments to the Constitution like the 18th, centralised even more powers in the Executive President, thus eroding the autonomy and integrity of all other institutions, including the Provincial ones.

The recent Divineguma Act that “has entrusted wide powers to the Economic Development Minister to regulate and decide on a wide range of issues including subjects within the purview of the Provincial Councils, with limited checks and balances” is another blow on the Provincial Council system. Ironically, the 13th Amendment benefitted all the other provinces, barring the north. Except for the Northern Province, every province has had a Provincial Council. Therefore, it is not an exaggeration to say that even on paper it was “13-minus”; and, in practice, it was “13-minus-minus”.

Thirteen-Plus
One tends to agree that there is no clear-cut definition of “13th Amendment plus”. But, it is difficult to say that there is no clarity of what “13-plus” is all about. The problem, on the other hand, is the existence of more than one meaning. What “13-plus” meant before the defeat of the LTTE differed from what it meant post-Eelam War IV. During peace talks between the LTTE and the government of Sri Lanka in late 2002, Colombo was not averse to agreeing for a federal settlement that was far beyond the 13th Amendment. The LTTE, however, rejected it. Later, President Rajapaksa appointed the All Party Representative Committee (APRC) in April 2006 to work out a solution that “must be seen to be good and reasonable enough to address the concerns for which great suffering has been endured.” What Rajapaksa meant by this was very clear: the 13th Amendment framework was not enough. The APRC had been working accordingly.

In its interim report, submitted in January 2008, the Committee recommended the “implementation of the 13th Amendment in full”, which meant unimplemented provisions as well. The war had just begun and the LTTE was still a formidable military force. During the height of the war, to get India’s support, Rajapaksa was talking about “13th Amendment Plus One”. The “One”, he had in mind was the Second Chamber, and “Plus” meant whatever the APRC was going to recommend. However, when the final Report (that was said to have gone beyond the 13th Amendment) was submitted in July 2010, the war was already over in favour of Colombo. That explains why the final report of the APRC has so far not been made public. It should be pointed out that if the “13-plus” means the creation of Second Chamber based in Colombo, it is not a “plus”, but “minus” because such a House is not going to address even an iota of Tamil and Muslim minority grievances. It would make things worse instead. Whatever it may be, “13-plus” is certainly not less than “13”. Even a kindergarten child knows this simple arithmetic.

Realistic Arithmetic
It is for this reason that India has been realistically insisting on a two stage process: firstly, implement the 13th Amendment in full; and later go beyond it. New Delhi knows that it is practically difficult to hit the “13-plus” without fully realising the 13th Amendment. The alleged “scepticism” of Shivshankar Menon was actually over the possibility of Colombo making a direct landing on the “13-plus” formula all of a sudden. Even otherwise, can Indian scepticism be taken by Colombo as a positive signal for brushing the so-called “13 plus” under the carpet? It could be minus somewhere and plus somewhere else, but the essence of the arithmetic is to have an arrangement that meets the sentiments and grievances of minority communities and which brings peace and prosperity to the Island.


To follow the rest of the debate, click:
• Sugeeswara Senadhira, "What is ’13 Plus’?", IPCS Commentary #4034
• N Manoharan, "Reconciling Differing Viewpoints", IPCS Commentary #4025
• V Suryanarayan, "Welcome Changes in India’s Policy", IPCS Commentary #4022
• V Suryanarayan, "Tamil Disenchantment", IPCS Commentary #4012

 

Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
IPCS Columnists
Af-Pak Diary
D Suba Chandran
Resetting Kabul-Islamabad Relations: Three Key Issues
Can Pakistan Reset its Relations with Afghanistan?
The New Afghanistan: Four Major Challenges for President Ghani
Big Picture
Prof Varun Sahni
Understanding Democracy and Diversity in J&K
When Xi Met Modi: Juxtaposing China and India
Pakistan?s Tactical Nuclear Weapons: The Inevitability of Instability

Dateline Colombo

Asanga Abeyagoonasekera.
Sri Lanka: Moving Towards a Higher Collective Outcome
The Importance of Electing the Best to our Nation's Parliament
Sri Lanka: Toward a Diaspora Re-Engagement Plan
Dateline Islamabad
Salma Malik
Pakistan's Hurt Locker: What Next?
IPCS Forecast: Pakistan in 2015
India-Pakistan Relations in 2015: Through a Looking Glass
 
Dhaka Discourse
Prof Delwar Hossain
IPCS Forecast: Bangladesh in 2015
18th SAARC Summit: A Perspective from Bangladesh
Bangladesh in Global Forums: Diplomacy vs. Domestic Politics
Eagle Eye
Prof Chintamani Mahapatra
India-US: Significance of the Second Modi-Obama Meet
Has President Obama Turned Lame Duck?
Modi-Obama Summit: Criticism for Criticism?s Sake?

East Asia Compass
Dr Sandip Mishra
India-Japan-US Trilateral: India?s Policy for the Indo-Pacific
China-South Korea Ties: Implications for the US Pivot to Asia
Many ?Pivots to Asia?: What Does It Mean For Regional Stability?
Himalayan Frontier
Pramod Jaiswal
Nepal?s New Constitution: Instrument towards Peace or Catalyst to Conflict?
IPCS Forecast: Nepal in 2015
Constitution-making: Will Nepal Miss its Second Deadline?

Indo-Pacific
Prof Shankari Sundararaman
IPCS Forecast: Southeast Asia in 2015
Indonesia's Pacific Identity: What Jakarta Must Do in West Papua
Modi in Myanmar: From ?Look East? to ?Act East?
Indus-tan
Sushant Sareen
IPCS Forecast: Pakistan in 2015
Islamic State: Prospects in Pakistan
Pakistan: The Futility of Internationalising Kashmir

Looking East
Wasbir Hussain
Myanmar in New Delhi's Naga Riddle
China: ?Peaceful? Display of Military Might
Naga Peace Accord: Need to Reserve Euphoria
Maritime Matters
Vijay Sakhuja
Indian Ocean: Modi on a Maritime Pilgrimage
Indian Ocean: Exploring Maritime Domain Awareness
IPCS Forecast: The Indian Ocean in 2015

Nuke Street
Amb Sheelkant Sharma
US-Russia and Global Nuclear Security: Under a Frosty Spell?
India's Nuclear Capable Cruise Missile: The Nirbhay Test
India-Australia Nuclear Agreement: Bespeaking of a New Age
Red Affairs
Bibhu Prasad
Countering Left Wing Extremism: Failures within Successes
Return of the Native: CPI-Maoist in Kerala
The Rising Civilian Costs of the State-Vs-Extremists Conflict

Regional Economy
Amita Batra
India and the APEC
IPCS Forecast: South Asian Regional Integration
South Asia: Rupee Regionalisation and Intra-regional Trade Enhancement
South Asian Dialectic
PR Chari
Resuming the Indo-Pak Dialogue: Evolving a New Focus
Defence Management in India: An Agenda for Parrikar
Pakistani Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan: Implications for Asian Security

Spotlight West Asia
Amb Ranjit Gupta
Prime Minister Modi Finally Begins His Interaction with West Asia*
A Potential Indian Role in West Asia?
US-GCC Summit: More Hype than Substance
Strategic Space
Manpreet Sethi
India-Russia Nuclear Vision Statement: See that it Delivers
Global Nuclear Disarmament: The Humanitarian Consequences Route
Nasr: Dangers of Pakistan's Short Range Ballistic Missile

The Strategist
Vice Admiral Vijay Shankar
Jihadi Aggression and Nuclear Deterrence
The Blight of Ambiguity
Falun Gong: The Fear Within


OTHER REGULAR contributors
Gurmeet Kanwal
Harun ur Rashid
N Manoharan
Wasbir Hussain
Rana Banerji
N Manoharan

Ruhee Neog
Teshu Singh
Aparupa Bhattacherjee
Roomana Hukil
Aparupa Bhattacherjee


 
Related Articles
Sugeeswara Senadhira,
"Sri Lanka and the 13th Amendment: What is '13 Plus'?," 11 July 2013
N Manoharan,
"Sri Lanka and the 13th Amendment: Reconciling Differing Viewpoints," 8 July 2013
Prof. V. Suryanarayan,
"Sri Lanka and the 13th Amendment: Welcome Changes in India’s Policy," 6 July 2013
Prof. V. Suryanarayan,
"Sri Lanka and the 13th Amendment: Tamil Disenchantment," 25 June 2013
Social Media: Sri Lanka's New War Zone
J Jeganaathan
Issue Brief 226

China and its Peripheries: Beijing and India-Sri Lanka Relations
N Manoharan
Issue Brief 217

Browse by Publications

Commentaries 
Issue Briefs 
Special Reports 
Research Papers 
Seminar Reports 
Conference Reports 

Browse by Region/Countries

East Asia 
South Asia 
Southeast Asia 
US & South Asia 
China 
Myanmar 
Afghanistan 
Iran 
Pakistan 
India 
J&K  

Browse by Issues

India & the world  
Indo-Pak 
Military 
Terrorism 
Naxalite Violence 
Nuclear 
Suicide Terrorism 
Peace & Conflict Database 
Article by same Author
India-Maldives Relations: A Tale of Two Concerns

Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh: Designs and Network in India

India-Sri Lanka: Time to Settle the Fishermen Issue

Sri Lanka: A New Base for ISI against India?

Ebola: Concerns for India

Left-wing Extremism 2013: The Threat Continues

Maldives 2013: End of Political Stalemate

CHOGM, India and Sri Lanka: New Delhi’s Missed Opportunities

Sri Lanka: TNA in the Northern Province

Presidential Elections in Maldives: A Pre-Poll Analysis

Indian Mujahideen: After Yasin Bhatkal's Arrest

India and the Peace Process in Sri Lanka: So Close, Yet So Far

Sri Lanka and the 13th Amendment: Reconciling Differing Viewpoints

Naxal Violence: What should be Done to Counter?

Sri Lanka: Third UNHRC Resolution and India’s Dilemma

Hyderabad Terror Attacks: Road-blocks in the National Counter-Terrorism Centre (NCTC)

Maldives: GMR, Nexbis and the Tale of Two Ousters

Maldives: Indian Investments vis-a-vis Chinese Footprints

Mahinda Rajapaksa’s India Visit: Taking the Ties Forward

Sri Lanka: 25 Years After the IPKF

IPCS Debate: The UNHRC Resolution on Sri Lanka

Devolution in Sri Lanka: The Latest Take

‘Taming the Tigers’: Reintegration of Surrendered LTTE Cadres

Fishing in Troubled Waters: Indian Fishermen and India-Sri Lanka Relations

Alternative Strategies for Indo-Sri Lankan Relations: Passenger Ferry Service

ADD TO:
Blink
Del.icio.us
Digg
Furl
Google
Simpy
Spurl
Y! MyWeb
Facebook
 
Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
Year 2017
 January  February  March  April  May  June  July  August  September  October
 2016  2015  2014  2013  2012  2011  2010  2009
 2008  2007  2006  2005  2004  2003  2002  2001
 2000  1999  1998  1997
 
 

The Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies (IPCS) is the premier South Asian think tank which conducts independent research on and provides an in depth analysis of conventional and non-conventional issues related to national and South Asian security including nuclear issues, disarmament, non-proliferation, weapons of mass destruction, the war on terrorism, counter terrorism , strategies security sector reforms, and armed conflict and peace processes in the region.

For those in South Asia and elsewhere, the IPCS website provides a comprehensive analysis of the happenings within India with a special focus on Jammu and Kashmir and Naxalite Violence. Our research promotes greater understanding of India's foreign policy especially India-China relations, India's relations with SAARC countries and South East Asia.

Through close interaction with leading strategic thinkers, former members of the Indian Administrative Service, the Foreign Service and the three wings of the Armed Forces - the Indian Army, Indian Navy, and Indian Air Force, - the academic community as well as the media, the IPCS has contributed considerably to the strategic discourse in India.

 
Subscribe to Newswire | Site Map
18, Link Road, Jungpura Extension, New Delhi 110014, INDIA.

Tel: 91-11-4100-1902    Email: officemail@ipcs.org

© Copyright 2017, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies.