When the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) tried to disarm all the various military groups as a prelude to peace, it soon got dragged into a battle with the LTTE. The Indian Army found out to its cost – around 1200 lives during 1987-1990 – just how vicious the war was. In one battle, the heads of Indian soldiers were severed and stuck on poles along the road to Jaffna. While the Indian Air Force may have flown around 70,000 sorties mainly with Mi-8 Hips, Mi-25 Hinds and An 32 Clines during the 32 month period, with no losses, it is generally agreed that Operation Pawana was ill-conceived and that the Indian Army was ill-prepared for such a conflict and it became India’s own ‘Vietnam’. Once the Indians left, the SLAF realised it would have to play a bigger role in he fight against the LTTE, in providing Close Air Support to the Army.
The tamil tigers also managed to assasinate ex PM Rajiv Gandhi who led India during the intervention.