'UN mission in Kashmir can be terminated only by UNSC'



New York: As India and Pakistan clashed in the Security Council over relevance of the UN observer group at the LoC, a spokesperson for UN chief Ban Ki-moon said the force can be terminated only by a decision of the 15-nation body.

The United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) was "established in 1948 by the Security Council. The Secretary-General's position has always been that UNMOGIP can only be terminated by a decision of the Security Council," Ban's spokesperson Martin Nesirky said in an email.

During a UNSC open debate on peacekeeping organised by Pakistan yesterday, India's Permanent Representative to the UN Hardeep Singh Puri had said that UNMOGIP's role had been "overtaken" by the 1972 Simla Agreement, which was signed between India and Pakistan.

Following the Simla pact, the two countries had resolved to settle their differences by "peaceful means through bilateral negotiations," Puri said.

The Indian envoy had also suggested that it would be better to spend the resources allocated for UNMOGIP in other areas or missions to ensure the finances are better utilised elsewhere in times of austerity.

Rejecting any suggestion of winding down the UN mission in Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan's Permanent Representative to the UN Masood Khan said UNMOGIP continues to monitor the ceasefire in accordance with Security Council resolution and its mandate is "therefore fully valid, relevant, and operative".

Khan said no bilateral agreement between the two nations has "overtaken or affected" the role or legality of the observer group adding that "the fact is that both India and Pakistan are hosting UNMOGIP".

India has ruled out any intervention by the UN in settling issues, including Kashmir, with Pakistan.

External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid reiterated in New Delhi that India's position has been that "bilateral issues should be settled bilaterally".

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 nuclear-armed neighbours.

Currently there are 39 military observers in Kashmir, 25 international civilian personnel and 48 local civilian staff.

PTI