Ban bats for continuing UN military observers in India

October 31st, 2008 - 11:58 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Oct 31 (IANS) UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon Friday defended the presence of the UN Military Observers Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP), saying it was playing “an important role” in maintaining peace and stability in the region. “In the last six decades, the UNMOGIP has been playing an important role in monitoring the border situation and peace and situation in the region,” Ban told reporters at the end of his two-day visit to India.

“I sincerely hope that with the active assistance of India and Pakistan, the UNMOGIP will be able to continue their mandated activities successfully,” the UN chief said when asked whether there was any need for the UNMOGIP to continue in the wake of the ongoing peace process between India and Pakistan.

Since the 1972 Simla Agreement with Pakistan, India has virtually de-recognized the UNMOGIP’s jurisdiction over the Line of Control although the body continues to maintain its offices in New Delhi and Srinagar.

The UNMOGIP’s legitimacy was further eroded in India when it issued a statement in the mid-eighties on the India-Pakistan border firing, which was biased against New Delhi.

The UNMOGIP, formed in 1949 to ensure that the then ceasefire line was not violated by either country, is in the news whenever there are anti-India or anti-Pakistan protest rallies. The protesters march to the UNMOGIP in Srinagar and Jammu and hand over memoranda to the officials for the UN Secretary General.

Underlining his concerns about the spurt in terrorism and extremism and Pakistan, Ban expressed hope that India and Pakistan will continue to improve their relations through dialogue.

“Neighbouring countries should help so that Pakistan is able to enjoy security and soci-economic cooperation,” he said while alluding to the rise in terror attacks in that country.

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