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No mandate for UN panel to probe: India

Anirban Bhaumik, New Delhi, Jan 10, 2013, DHNS:
The United Nations has announced that Pakistan’s complaint about ceasefire violation by Indian Army along the Line of Control between the two neighbours would be probed by a group of its military observers, although New Delhi maintains that the mandate of the particular mission of the world body lapsed over four decades ago.

The United Nations’ Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s spokesperson, Martin Nesirky, said that the UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan or UNMOGIP had received an official complaint from the Pakistani Army about ceasefire violation by Indian Army on January 6 last and would conduct a probe into it as soon as possible. India, however, refused to take cognizance of the probe by the UN panel.

“Does the UNMOGIP still exist?” National Security Advisor Shiv Shankar Menon said on Thursday, when a journalist asked him how New Delhi would react to Islamabad’s call for a probe by the UN panel into recent incidents along the LoC.

“They (the UNMOGIP observers) do not have a role,” he said, apparently to underscore New Delhi’s stand against UN intervention in the bilateral dispute between India and Pakistan.

Islamabad lodged a complaint to the UNMOGIP over the January 6 incident alleging that Indian troops had crossed the LoC near Rampur in Jammu and Kashmir and killed a soldier of the Pakistan Army.

Though New Delhi on Wednesday lodged a strong protest with Islamabad over brutal killing of two Indian Army personnel by the Pakistan soldiers at Mendhar in Poonch sector of Jammu and Kashmir on January 8, it did not file a complaint with the UNMOGIP in accordance with its policy of not recognizing the panel since January 1972.

Sources told Deccan Herald that Islamabad’s offer to get the UNMOGIP probe into the January 8 incident was nothing but a re-assertion of its recognition of the group of UN observers, which was ostensibly in keeping with its frequent bids to internationalize the dispute over Kashmir.

The UN Security Council in January 1948 set up United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan or UNCIP to investigate and mediate the dispute between the two new-born nations over Kashmir. The first team of unarmed military observers, who eventually formed the UNMOGIP core, arrived in Kashmir in January 1949 to oversee the ceasefire between India and Pakistan. They were later tasked to supervise the ceasefire line that was agreed upon by India and Pakistan in the Karachi Agreement inked on 27 July, 1949.

After the UNCIP’s term ended, the Security Council on March 30, 1951 decided that UNMOGIP should continue to observe and report, investigate complaints of ceasefire violations and submit its findings to the Secretary-General as well as to the Governments of both India and Pakistan.

India and Pakistan later singed theSimla Agreement on July 2, 1972, agreeing on a Line of Control. India then argued that the UNMOGIP’s mandate had lapsed, since it had been relevant specifically to the Karachi Agreement, which had been replaced by the Simla Agreement.

Pakistan disagreed and the UN Secretary General too maintained that UNMOGIP could be terminated only by a decision of the Security Council.

Pakistan continued to lodge complaints with the UNMOGIP over alleged ceasefire violations by Indian Army personnel. India however has never done so since 1972. New Delhi does not take cognizance of Pakistan’s complaints and probes by the UN military observers.

New Delhi restricted the UN observers’ access to the Indian side of the LoC, but continued to provide accommodation, transport and other facilities to the UNMOGIP, which maintains offices in both Srinagar and Islamabad with field stations on the Pakistani side of the LoC.

 

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