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UNMOGIP to continue in India, Pakistan : UN

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, Apr 7: The United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) will continue to stay in both countries as the UN Force is there under a specific mandate, UN Under-Secretary General Shashi Tharoor said today.

Mr Tharoor who addressed a seminar here, told reporters on the sidelines that the UN Force had a mandate and they would have to continue as long as that mandate required them to.

He was asked whether there was any need for the UNMOGIP, which has its presence in Srinagar (Jammu and Kashmir) and Muzaffarabad in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK), to continue since both countries were now on a reconciliation pathway.

The UNMOGIP was deployed in Jammu and Kashmir in January 1949 to supervise the ceasefire between India and Pakistan. Following the 1972 India-Pakistan agreement defining a Line of Control (LOC) in Kashmir, India took the position that the mandate of UNMOGIP had lapsed.

Pakistan, however, did not accept this position. Given that disagreement, the UN position has been that UNMOGIP can be terminated only by a decision of the Security Council. In the absence of such a decision, UNMOGIP has been maintained with the same mandate and functions.

Earlier in his address on the subject 'Democracy and Development : A UN view', Mr Tharoor said the UN did not favour forcible change in regimes in order to bring in democratic forms of governance in any particular country.

Drawing a parallel between democracy and development he said democracy had to come from within a nation and in accordance with the wishes of the people of that country.

To a question on Iraq, he denied that the UN was imposing democracies in any country.

''Regime change is not in the UN vocabulary. We are not in the business of regime change. The change should come from within,'' he said in response to a question from the audience after addressing the seminar.

The UN Under-Secretary General, who is heading Communications and Public Information Department of the UN, however, said the Word body had worked in several countries to encourage them adopt democracies and attain certain standards of living. ''The UN can't impose democracies...We can help provide soft lights and music (for good governance)...We must do something for those who have been left behind,'' he added.

Defending the UN in Iraq's multi-million-dollar oil-for-food scam he said inquiries had been instituted and Paul Volker was appointed to look into the matter. Only one UN official was not able to give an exlanation, he added.

To a question on China's remarkable economic development despite a non-democratic form of governance, he said there was a visible change in China not only in terms of economic development, but also in their willingness to talk.

''It will be a different China in future,'' he added.

Mr Tharoor said the issue of corruption would be the main concern of the UN in future and tackling corruption would be a major theme in the next few years.

Referring to the UN Democracy Fund which was set up by India, US and the UN in New York in September last year to help development of democracies in developing nations, Mr Tharoor said that in the past 50 years, the UN had done a commendable job in development of emocracies around the world.

Many civil wars had been avoided, about 300 international treaties negotiated setting a framework that paved way for democracies to develop and even cold war prevented from ''becoming hot,'' he added.

However, there were still many challenges ahead and the UN would have to face all those,'' he said.


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