Udayavni Special

Army veterans pay tributes to fallen warriors of IPKF in rare ceremony


PTI, Jul 30, 2021, 12:25 PM IST

New Delhi: A group of Indian Army veterans on Thursday placed wreaths at the National War Memorial in paying tributes to the fallen warriors of the Indian Peacekeeping Force (IPKF) deployed in Sri Lanka over three decades ago.

Lieutenant General (retd) Amarjeet Singh Kalkat, the commander of the Indian Peacekeeping Force (IPKF) in Sri Lanka, Lieutenant General (retd) Syed Ata Hasnain and Lieutenant General (retd) Gurmit Singh were among over two-dozen veterans who participated in the wreath-laying, military officials said.

The ”unofficial ceremony,” held following a go-ahead from the authorities concerned, carried special significance as nothing much is talked about officially about the sacrifices of the soldiers who were part of the IPKF, said a veteran.

India had lost around 1,200 soldiers during the IPKF’s stay in Sri Lanka between July 1987 and March 1990.

”IPKF ops in Sri Lanka were no walk in the woods,” said Lieutenant General (retd) Syed Ata Hasnain on Twitter along with a link to an article he wrote about the operation.

India and Sri Lanka signed a historic peace accord on July 29, 1987 following which India deployed the IPKF in the island nation to bring peace in Tamil dominated areas that had witnessed widespread violence and civil strife for years.

However, peace eluded the regions and the IPKF stayed in Sri Lanka till March 1990.

The IPFK mission and the sacrifices made by its personnel are yet to be officially recognised or commemorated by the government.

India has been consistently calling upon Sri Lanka to fulfil its commitments to protect the interests of the Tamil people and fulfil their aspirations.

New Delhi has particularly been urging Sri Lanka to implement the 13th Amendment to its Constitution.

The 13th amendment provides for the devolution of power to the Tamil community. It was brought in after the Indo-Sri Lankan peace accord.

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