Has UNMOGIP lost relevance?
Of United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan
NAYEEMA AHMAD MAHJOOR
The recent confrontation between India and Pakistan on the Line of Control has once again alarmed the people of South Asia. It has also raised suspicion about the intent of both countries and the role of the international community on the future course of action in this volatile region. Apparently, it seems that both countries are about to come to blows with each other but political experts say otherwise. Some even think that the disturbances were planned. Looking deep into the messy situation, both countries do not want another war at this juncture. Both countries have become more vulnerable to their internal radicalism and external threats of terrorism.
India, a fast growing economy, would hardly indulge in any skirmish as it makes every effort to attract foreign investment. The Indian economy needs to attract foreign investment to keep the growth rate high. Any change in the security situation will have huge impact on investment sentiment. On the other side of the border, Pakistan is reeling from internal terrorism, unrest, economic stagnation and the triangular tussle among the Executive, Judiciary and the Army. It hardly has any strength left for war with India, especially when it has the porous border with Afghanistan to worry about. The withdrawal of American forces in 2014 is another major factor of worry for Pakistan, given that it has the potential to lead to a flood of Taliban into Pakistan with the support of the local tribal population already in rage over Pakistan's support to international forces.
Why all of a sudden and amid growing confidence between India and Pakistan and the recent relaxation of visa restrictions, the LoC skirmishes happened, has become a point of discussion in international fora. It is not easy to comprehend and find an answer to this complicated question because the closed-doors diplomacy leading to these events has blocked all information even for those media channels which are meant for government propaganda. There are many theories running around with the cold winds across the globe. One of the theories suggested is that "India will go for another war with Pakistan with the intention of occupying Pakistan-administered Kashmir, with the tacit support of Western countries, to prevent China's expansionist policy in the region". Some analysts suggest that Pakistan has been forced to accept the proposal of a "status quo" policy on Kashmir with its borders open on LoC and free movement of trade and people in the separated parts of Kashmir. In fact, this proposal has helped both India and Pakistan. Pakistan has realised that it is not worth pursuing its original idea of incorporating the whole of Kashmir with Pakistan, when many of the problems bedevilling it have arisen due to this conflict. Pakistan is not in a position to fight a war with India and that too on Kashmir which seems to have slipped out of its hand after the two decades of militancy creating bloodshed and destruction in the Valley. Accordingly, it is due to this strategy that the relevance of UNMOGIP after LoC fight recently has become "point of priority" in the international fora with claims and counter claims from both neighbouring nations. Pakistan's demand of third party mediation on Kashmir issue has been time and again rejected by India. India is now questioning the very validity and relevance of the UNMOGIP mission.
Although, UN has ruled out the termination of its mission in Kashmir at the moment but has left its option open saying that forces can be terminated by a decision of 15 nation body. India seems to have convinced many members of the UN body for withdrawal of observers from both sides of Kashmir but has yet to work hard to get on board Pakistan. It is not the matter of mission withdrawal only but it needs to give new shape to region by fixing responsibility on both countries to respect each other's territory without indulging into border skirmishes. And, international community has yet again to guarantee from both sides from further indulgence of confrontation. Can LoC be termed as permanent border between two countries without resolving Kashmir issue? The consensus seems to be evolving in the region with the tacit support of international fora.
The recent transformation and change of guard in political parties in the Centre and the State give plenty of indications of changes ahead on the ground. The ruling party's recent statements over plebiscite and revelations on the Indira-Abdullah Accord or the demand to keep open the LoC border makes one to believe that political parties from Srinagar to Delhi with the blessings of the West are following the same roadmap regarding which new revelations are made, new stories are planted, new demands are voiced and new strategies are followed. The whole machinery from Lal Chowk to New York is working hard to give permanent shape to the Kashmir issue but the question is will it give relief to millions of people especially Kashmiris and will it eliminate hostility between two neighbours forever? If yes, then it will be great decision of this century.
Lastupdate on : Sun, 27 Jan 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 27 Jan 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 28 Jan 2013 00:00:00 IST
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