Information on the Srimavo-Shastri Pact between India and Sri Lanka in the early 1960s, including how it was implemented, whether it granted citizenship to Indian Tamils living in Sri Lanka and if so, on who was eligible, and the residency and documentary requirements to be considered eligible [LKA27872.E]

According to Encyclopedia of the Third World, in 1964 the Sirimavo (Srimavo)-Shastri Accord was reached with India regarding the status of Indian Tamils in the then Ceylon (1992, 1794). However, The Far East and Australasia 1996 refers to this 1964 agreement with India as the Bandaranaike-Shastri pact, which "laid the basis for an equitable settlement of Sri Lanka's Indian problem" (1996, 972). At the time of this agreement, Sirimavo Bandaranaike was prime minister of Ceylon (The New Encyclopaedia Britannica 1989a, 860) and Lal Bahadur Shastri was prime minister of India (ibid. 1989b, 705).

According to Encyclopedia of the Third World,

Under the terms of the 1964 agreement with India, 600,000 Indian Tamils were to be repatriated, while 375,000 were to be granted Sri Lankan citizenship. By October 31, 1981, when the two countries were to have settled this issue, India had taken more than 300,000 persons as repatriates. Sri Lanka had granted citizenship to over 185,000 plus over 62,000 post-1964 offspring. Over 207,000 Indian Tamils in Sri Lanka before 1964, plus nearly 45,000 offspring, were granted Indian citizenship but still awaited repatriation. In the wake of the July 1983 anti-Tamil violence, some in this latter group are being processed for repatriation or have emigrated to India.

With the lapse of the 1964 agreement India declined to consider any more applications for citizenship. The government of Sri Lanka believes that the 1964 pact remains in force until the citizenship cases and permanent residence of all Indian Tamils covered by the pact have been settled. The All-Party Conference has agreed that the government should grant Sri Lankan citizenship to stateless Indian Tamils who did not apply for Indian citizenship and were not granted Sri Lankan citizenship under the 1964 agreement (ibid., 1779).

According to

Europa 1992,

[n]egociations have been held with India since 1964 on the repatriation of stateless Tamils of Indian origin residing in the central tea-plantation region, who had been brought to the island as labourers during British colonial rule (they are distinct from the Sri Lankan Tamils residing in the north and north-east). In 1985 India granted citizenship to 600,000 people, while Sri Lanka agreed to accept the remaining 469,000 as citizens. In April 1989 the Sri Lankan Government granted voting rights to 320,000 of these Tamils" (1992, 2529).

For additional though brief information on the 1964 Sirimavo-Shastri agreement, please consult the attachments.

Specific information on how the 1964 Sirimavo-Shastri agreement was implemented and on the eligibility, residency and documentary requirements could not be found among the sources consulted by the DIRB.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the DIRB within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


Encyclopedia of the Third World. 1992. 4th ed. Vol. 3. Edited by George Thomas Kurian. New York: Facts on File.

The Europa World Year Book 1992. 1992. 33rd ed. Vol. 2. London: Europa Publications.

The Far East and Australasia 1996. 1996. 27th ed. London: Europa Publications Ltd.

The New Encyclopaedia Britannica. 1989a. 15th ed. Vol. 1. Edited by Philip W. Goetz. Chicago: Encyclopaedia Britannica.

_____. 1989b. 15th ed. Vol. 10. Edited by Philip W. Goetz. Chicago: Encyclopaedia Britannica.


All-India Radio Home Service [Delhi, in English]. 18 February 1991. "Other Reports on South Asia; Committee to Examine Problems of Indian Sri Lankans." (BBC Summary 20 Feb. 1991/NEXIS)

BBC Summary of World Broadcasts. 20 January 1986. "Other Reports on South Asia; Sri Lankan National Security Minister on Stateless Tamils Issue." (NEXIS)

Minority Rights Group International (MRGI). 1986. No. 25. 3rd. rev. ed. Walter Schwarz. The Tamils of Sri Lanka. London: Minority Rights Group International, pp. 8-9.

Additional Sources Consulted

Asia Watch. November 1987.

Cycles of Violence: Human Rights in Sri Lanka Since the Indo-Sri Lankan Agreement.

Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1978. 1979.

Encyclopedia of Human Rights. 1996.
The International Who's Who 1996-1997. 1996.

Law and Society Trust, Colombo. 31 May 1994.

Sri Lanka: State of Human Rights 1993.

Minority Rights Group International (MRGI), London. February 1996. Elizabeth Nissan.

Sri Lanka: A Bitter Harvest.

Sieghart, Paul. March 1984.

Sri Lanka: A Mounting Tragedy of Errors.

Sri Lanka: A Country Study. 1990.

Sri Lanka: History and the Roots of the Conflict. 1990. Edited by Jonathan Spencer.

Third World Guide 1993/94. 1992.

Electronic sources: DIRB Databases, Internet, LEXIS/NEXIS.