United Nations: The UN observer mission, which is tasked with monitoring the ceasefire line between India and Pakistan, is identifying possible alternative locations for its office in India after it was asked by the Indian government to vacate its current premises in New Delhi.
The UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) had been allotted 40 years ago and free of charge, a government bungalow on the Purana Qila Road in New Delhi.
The new Indian government asked the mission to vacate the government bungalow to "rationalise" the presence of the group which the government said has "outlived its relevance".
"UNMOGIP has received the Indian Government`s request to vacate the premises which it is using in New Delhi. The Mission is currently conducting a market survey to assess costs and identify possible alternative locations.
"UNMOGIP is in contact with the Indian authorities and will continue its cooperation on this matter," Deputy Spokesperson for UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Farhan Haq told PTI.
Spokesperson in the Indian External Affairs Ministry Syed Akbaruddin had said in New Delhi that it has been India`s "consistent and long- standing view that UNMOGIP has outlived its mandate."
The Indian position on the group has been that UNMOGIP`s role has been overtaken by the Simla Agreement and the consequent establishment of the Line of Control.
Akbaruddin further said that the government is in budgetary season and "everybody is tightening their belts." He added that "rationalisation means that you pay for what you get."
UNMOGIP is currently based out of a Type VII bungalow in Purana Qila Road. UNMOGIP observers have been located at the ceasefire line between India and Pakistan in Jammu and Kashmir since 1949 and supervise the truce between the two neighbours.
As of May, UNMOGIP has 40 military observers, 23 international civilian personnel and 45 local civilian staff. The observer group is financed by the United Nations regular budget and appropriations for biennium 2014-2015 are USD 19.64 million.