In mid-1985, after the collapse of talks between the Sri Lankan government and Tamil groups, held in Thimpu, Bhuran, under the aegis of India, then PM Rajiv Gandhi had asked then SL President J R Jayewardene to submit a workable, mutually acceptable proposal on a system of devolution of power to the provinces, currently enshrined in the 13th Amendment (13A) of the Lankan constitution.
Colombo came up with a proposal to set up elected Provincial Councils (PCs). But the Tamil groups rejected it saying that there was no recognition of the Tamils’ right to “self-determination” and to separate “homeland”.
To end the stalemate, Rajiv told Jayewardene that they should negotiate a deal themselves in consultation with the TULF. Indo-Lankan direct talks began in August 1985 and went on till December 1986, in which agreement on the basic features of the 1987 Accord was arrived at.
If the Accord was rushed through in mid-July 1987, it was because India sensed there was a danger to peace and stability in SL due to escalation in army move against Tamil militants, the latter’s depredations and economic embargo which SL imposed in the Northern Province.