The UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) has been monitoring the cease-fire line separating Indian- and Pakistani-controlled areas of the disputed territory of Jammu-Kashmir since 1949. The current line of control was established in 1972 as part of the Simla Agreement. UNMOGIP, the UN’s second oldest peacekeeping mission, monitors the line of control, conducting patrols, inspections and investigations of alleged violations of the ceasefire. On 1 July 2014, Major General Delali Johnson Sakyi of Ghana was appointed Chief Military Observer and Head of Mission.
New Delhi has long taken the position that UNMOGIP has no operational role to play in Jammu-Kashmir, and India has not submitted complaints to the mission since 1972. The Indian government has restricted the activities of UN observers on its side of control but has allowed the mission to operate out of its summer headquarter in Srinagur. In July 2014, in an apparent hardening of its stance, the Indian government closed down UNMOGIP’s long-standing liaison office in New Delhi. Though no reasons for the eviction were provided, government officials have reportedly stated that in their view UNMOGIP has “outlived its relevance”. Pakistan, however, maintains that UNMOGIP’s mandate still applies, and continues to file complaints regarding perceived violations of the line of control.
The security situation in Jammu-Kashmir steadily deteriorated throughout the period under review. In 2013, episodes of heavy artillery shelling as well as gun and mortar fire led to casualties among soldiers and civilians on both sides. After a period of relative calm through August 2014, tensions once again flared up after India called off high-level diplomatic talks aimed at discussing a possible resumption of a peace dialogue. In October 2014, during what media reports have referred to as the worst violations of a 2003 ceasefire agreement, at least 20 civilians were killed and thousands fled their homes. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon urged leaders on both sides to “engage constructively to find a long-term solution for peace and stability in Kashmir.” UNMOGIP observers visited villages affected by the violence and continued to monitor violations of the line of control.
Despite hopes for closer cooperation, following Pakistani Prime Minister Sharif’s participation in Indian Prime Minister Modi’s inauguration in May 2014, relations between the two countries have deteriorated rapidly. With an increase in serious ceasefire violations and political dialogue on the future of Jammu-Kashmir unlikely to take place anytime soon, UNMOGIP continues to carry out its observer functions unchanged.