Indian Peace Keeping Force Memorial

Indian Peace Keeping Force Memorial is a war monument located on the Ape Gama premises near the Parliament Complex in Battaramulla in Colombo.
IPKF Monument
Indian Peace Keeping Force Memorial

Indian Peace Keeping Force Memorial or IPKF Monument (Sinhala: ඉන්දීය සාම සාධක හමුදා ස්මාරකය) is a war monument located on the Ape Gama premises near the Parliament Complex in Battaramulla in Colombo District, Sri Lanka. It was erected in honour of the Indian troops killed in the north and east of Sri Lanka between 1987 and 1990.

IPKF Mission in Sri Lanka

Under the mandate of the 1987 Indo-Sri Lanka Accord, the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) came to Sri Lanka on 30 July 1987 at the request of the then Sri Lanka President J. R. Jayawardena (office: 1978-1989) to undertake peacekeeping operations in the ongoing civil war in Sri Lanka (Chari, 1994; Ouellet, 2011). It had to fight against Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) guerrillas to prevent the break-up of Sri Lanka along ethnic lines and ensure territorial integrity. This operation was carried out under the code name "Operation Pawan" (Ouellet, 2011). However, in 1989, at the request of the then Sri Lanka President R. Premadasa (office: 1989-1993), the IPKF began their withdrawal from Sri Lanka and the last contingent left by March 1990 (Chari, 1994; Ouellet, 2011). Following their withdrawal the IPKF was renamed 21st Corps and became a quick reaction force of the Indian Army.

During the period 1987-1990, 1169 martyrs (55 Officers, 78 JCOs and 1036 ORs) from the Indian force sacrificed their lives on the battlefield. Among the top honours, one Param Vir Chakra and six Maha Vir Chakras were awarded to the brave soldiers during Operation Pawan.

The Memorial

The construction of the memorial was completed in August 2008 by the Sri Lanka Navy. However, rumours spread that the monument was to be unveiled by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh when he visited Sri Lanka in May 2008 for the Heads of State Summit of the South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation (SAARC) but the visit was abandoned due to rising anti-Sri Lankan sentiments at the time in South India.

The names of martyrs who sacrificed their lives are inscribed on 24 granite slabs on either side of the monument. The main inscription on the granite plaque at the front of the memorial reads as follows:

This monument is dedicated to the members of the Indian Peace Keeping Force who made the supreme sacrifice during the peace keeping mission from 1987 to 1990 in Sri Lanka.

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Journal Articles

1) Chari, P.R., 1994. The IPKF Experience in Sri Lanka. ACDIS Occasional Paper.
2) Ouellet, E., 2011. Institutional analysis of counterinsurgency: the case of the IPKF in Sri Lanka (1987–1990). Defence Studies, 11(3), pp.470-496.

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