"The group has been overtaken by the Simla Agreement of 1972"

India on Tuesday sought to bury the ghost of third party intervention in Jammu & Kashmir by suggesting that the U.N. Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (Unmogip) be wound up as it had been “overtaken” by the Simla Agreement of 1972. India’s Permanent Representative to the U.N. Hardeep Puri articulated India’s position during a debate in the U.N. Security Council on the United Nations’ peacekeeping operations.

Responding to Mr. Puri’s observations, his Pakistani counterpart Masood Khan said no bilateral agreement between India and Pakistan had overtaken or affected the role and legality of Unmogip. “Unmogip continues to monitor the ceasefire in accordance with the U.N. Security Council resolution; its mandate is, therefore, fully valid, relevant, and operative,” he said.

New ceasefire line

At this, Indian diplomat Manish Gupta said that the Unmogip’s role was to supervise the ceasefire line, which was established in Jammu and Kashmir as a result of the Karachi Agreement of 1949. This line no longer existed and a new line came into existence on December 17, 1971.

Following the Simla Agreement, the two countries resolved to settle their differences by peaceful means through bilateral negotiations. The Line of Control was delineated in Jammu and Kashmir with the approval of both governments. “Thus, the Unmogip’s role has been overtaken by these developments,” Mr. Gupta contended.

Earlier, Pakistan Foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani said: “Pakistan is also host to one of the oldest U.N. peacekeeping missions — Unmogip. This Mission has played an important role in monitoring peace along the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir.” Mr. Puri reiterated India’s call for more effective utilisation of resources and felt the U.N. should consider whether money being allocated for Unmogip could be allocated to some other mission which required strength.

‘Unmogip obsolete’

Mr. Puri sought to press home the point that the U.N. mission had outlived its utility. The Simla Agreement, which enjoins India and Pakistan to bilaterally sort out their disputes, was “signed by the heads of the two governments and ratified by their respective parliaments,” he pointed out.

“In times of austerity, we need to address the question whether the resources being spent on Unmogip would not be better utilised elsewhere,” he added.

India has two main complaints against the U.N. peacekeeping architecture. One, manpower-providers such as India must be kept in the loop while taking a decision on the mission and keeping everyone informed when it changes character.

Operational challenges

The second grouse is about resource allocation failing to keep pace with the mandate expansion. As a result, peacekeeping missions are called upon to do more and more with less and less.

This has added to operational challenges faced by peacekeepers and missions are overstretched due to shortage of personnel and equipment.