New York, Jan 22: India is of the opinion that international observers in Jammu and Kashmir have been rendered irrelevant by the bilateral pacts between Delhi and Islamabad.
Hardeep Singh Puri, India's Ambassador to the UN, pointed out that "UNMOGIP's role has been overtaken by the Simla Agreement of 1972 between India and Pakistan, signed by the Heads of the two governments and ratified by their respective Parliaments."
Puri made this remark during the latest debate in the UN Security Council. "In times of austerity, we need to address the question whether the resources being spent on UNMOGIP would not be better utilised elsewhere," he said.
Jalil Abbas Jilani, Pakistan's Foreign Secretary, had earlier hailed the UN peacekeeping mission that was set up in 1949. UNMOGIP "has played an important role in monitoring peace along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir," Jilani noted.Even after the debate ended, Pakistan's Permanent Representative to the UN tried to counter Puri. According to Masood Khan, the pact inked by Indira Gandhi and Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto at Shimla nearly 31 years ago has not "overtaken or affected" the legality of international observers in Kashmir.
Differences on this matter between India and Pakistan are nothing new. Islamabad urged UNMOGIP to conduct an enquiry after Delhi protested strongly over the killing of two jawans in the Mendhar sector near the Line of Control on Jan 8.
Though the body of Lance Naik Sudhakar Singh was badly mutilated and the head of Lance Naik Hemraj has not even been found till date, Pakistan claimed that its troops were not responsible in any way for either atrocity.
Islamabad believes that international observers can determine whether ceasefire violations have taken place in Jammu and Kashmir, but Delhi has repeatedly stressed that both the armies can well sort out all such issues and UNMOGIP should not interfere.