Respect ceasefire, de-escalate tensions: UN to India, Pakistan



New York: The UN has urged India and Pakistan to respect the ceasefire and "de-escalate" tensions over the recent cross-border firings through dialogue.

The United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) made the plea even as it received a complaint from Pakistan which claimed that Indian troops had allegedly crossed the Line of Control (LoC) and "raided" a border post on January 06. India has denied it has crossed the LoC.

"UNMOGIP is aware that the Pakistan Army and Indian Army are in contact via the hotline and urges both sides to respect the ceasefire and de-escalate tensions through dialogue," the UN observer force said in an e-mailed statement to a news agency. The ceasefire has been in place along the LoC since 2003.

However, "no official complaint has been received either from the Pakistan Army or Indian Army" regarding the January 08 clash in which two Indian soldiers were killed, it said.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's spokesperson Martin Nesirky said at the daily briefing on Wednesday that the UN observer mission had not received any complaint from either side over the January 08 clashes.

"Regarding the 6 January alleged incident, the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan, or UNMOGIP, has received an official complaint from the Pakistan Army and will conduct an investigation as soon as possible in accordance with its mandate," the observer group added.

An UNMOGIP official did not provide further details of the complaint, saying that the mission "is not in position to distribute communications between member states and the UN”.

The Pakistani mission to the UN did not respond to queries from a news agency seeking comment on the complaint to UNMOGIP.

Tensions between India and Pakistan escalated after two Indian soldiers Lance Naik Sudhakar Singh and Lance Naik Hemraj were brutally killed by Pakistani troops on January 08, which India has described as "highly provocative”.

The attack took place along the LoC in Poonch district when the Pakistani troops entered into Indian territory and assaulted a patrol party. The bodies of the two Indian soldiers were mutilated by Pakistani troops.

UNMOGIP observers have been located at the ceasefire line between India and Pakistan in Jammu and Kashmir since 1949 and supervise the ceasefire between the two countries.

Currently there are 39 military observers in Kashmir, 25 international civilian personnel and 48 local civilian staff. Outraged over the attack, India summoned the Pakistan High Commissioner in New Delhi Salman Bashir yesterday and lodged a strong protest against the "highly provocative" attack in its territory and described as "extremely distressing" and "inhuman" the mutilation of bodies of the two soldiers.

India has denied crossing the LoC on January 06 and said the Pakistan Army started firing mortar shells towards its posts with some of the shells landing close to civilian habitation.

It has said that Pakistani troops commenced "unprovoked firing on Indian troops" in the early hours of January 06.

A civilian house was damaged in the firing and Indian troops then undertook "controlled retaliation" in response.

Pakistan is currently holding the rotating Presidency of the UN Security Council. It will complete its two-year term at the 15-nation body this year-end.

India's two years at the Council as a non-permanent member ended in December.

PTI