Indira asked Thatcher to stop training Lankan army

Indira asked Thatcher to stop training Lankan army

Former prime minister Indira Gandhi had asked her British counterpart Margaret Thatcher to stop helping Sri Lanka with military advice to crush the separatist Tamil Eelam movement in the 1980s, according to newly declassified documents.

In a document released by the National Archives here under the 30-year declassification rule, a reference was apparently made to India’s suspicion in 1984 that Britain’s elite Special Air Service (SAS) was training the Sri Lankan military.

Gandhi told Thatcher: “We hope that you will use your influence to persuade (Sri Lanka’s) President (J R) Jayewardene to give a positive lead by making constructive suggestions at the All Parties Conference. Military aid and anti-insurgency assistance are not enough to overcome a political crisis which has to be faced and resolved.”

According to another document, the British government under Thatcher allowed former SAS officers to train Sri Lankan security forces against the LTTE.

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