TRADITIONALLY India has used the Simla Agreement to avoid third-party mediation in its disputes with Pakistan. Its rejection of Islamabad’s proposal for a UN probe into the latest clashes across the Line of Control in Kashmir can be seen against this backdrop. But technically New Delhi is not on a strong wicket if it uses the 1972 agreement to bypass the United Nations Military Observer Group for India and Pakistan. Class ii of the Simla Agreement expresses the resolve of the two countries to “settle their differences by peaceful means through bilateral negotiations or by any other peaceful means mutually agreed upon”. This has allowed India to reject offers by friendly countries to help solve the festering Kashmir issue. UNMOGIP’s role is not political, however, and it is not charged with the task of mediating between Pakistan and India for resolving their differences over the disputed territory. Its role — as its name suggests — is one of an observer whose duty it is to monitor “developments pertaining to the strict observance of the ceasefire of 17 December 1971”.

In the latest clashes across the LoC, both India and Pakistan have lost soldiers. Both sides have not only accused each other of aggression, Indian officials and media have also alleged that Pakistani forces mutilated the bodies of Indian soldiers, which the Pakistan government has denied. Mercifully the two governments have decided not to exacerbate matters, and Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar made clear that the clashes would not be allowed to derail the peace process. There is no doubt this is the correct approach, for the Thimphu spirit must be pursued vigorously to prevent as far as possible LoC violations that can only set back progress. But that doesn’t mean that the facts regarding these recent LoC incidents should not be established. If Pakistan and India cannot establish the truth themselves through cooperation and in an impartial manner, then there is no better forum than the UNMOGIP to do so.

Updated Jan 11, 2013 09:06pm

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Comments (5) (Closed)


A peace loving human being
Jan 13, 2013 09:06am
Pakaistani Kaum has to mature up and must learn to live in peace within its borders and also outsideof its borders. Its 21st century and only the civilized socities are going to progress, otherwise they would end up killing each other. Its never too late to let the common sense prevail.
Vikram
Jan 13, 2013 08:36am
Do you think death and beheading is a small thing to be reported by the media.
umesh bhagwat
Jan 11, 2013 10:52pm
I think there is a lot more to report abt what is happening in both countries than these daily skirmishes!The media in both countries has to grow up!
israr
Jan 12, 2013 07:24am
Why is India reluctant to go to UN to let the facts reveal. Besides why we see such incidents whenever both the countries take a step towards normalization of relations?somebody is behind?
Dr. D. Prithipaul
Jan 12, 2013 10:48pm
Regarding a third party probe, your readers must be informed that the whole story began wiith Pakistani invasion of India in 1948 and the UN resolution asking Pakistan to vacate the part of Kashmir which it still occupies. Today Rabbani Khar's concern for the peace process can be safely ignored as it is not in any way material to the benefit of india. In fact Pakistan's hostility towards India will never end, even if all of Kashmir, with its Hindu and Buddhist parts, were to be awarded to it. The ethnic cleansing of Hindus and the Buddhists will do the rest. On a humane level, to protect these minorities, Kashmir would be better if it stays in the company of the other nearly 300 million Muslims living more quietly in Harbi India than in the Islamic Pure Land. Only someone with a madrassa inspired soul would find this difficult to comprehend. Still India must accept this as a sore eternally festering in its western backyard. Besides Kashmir has another political merit. It provides Pakistan with the rationale to, first, finance perpetually its army, to the detriment of the welfare of its majority lumpen folk, and secondly: to maintain the paranoia inherent to the collective psychology of the ruling and middle classes. That is the best defence which India will always have against the army and the ISI. The kaum obsession related to Kashmir is, and will always be, the weakness of Pakistan. Ironically it is Pakistan which made this choice, Jinnah willing. With friends like China and America helping there will always be funds available to maintain his legacy. The editors and readers of Dawn will thereby have cause for rejoicing.