In August 1947, India and Pakistan became independent. Under the scheme of partition provided by the Indian Independence Act of 1947, Kashmir was free to accede to India or Pakistan. Its accession to India became a matter of dispute between the two countries and fighting broke out later that year.

In January 1948, the Security Council adopted resolution 39 (1948), establishing the United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan (UNCIP) to investigate and mediate the dispute. In April 1948, by its resolution 47 (1948), the Council decided to enlarge the membership of UNCIP and to recommend various measures including the use of observers to stop the fighting. In July 1949, India and Pakistan signed the Karachi Agreement establishing a ceasefire line to be supervised by the observers. On 30 March 1951, following the termination of UNCIP, the Security Council, by its resolution 91 (1951) decided that UNMOGIP should continue to supervise the ceasefire in Kashmir. UNMOGIP's functions were to observe and report, investigate complaints of ceasefire violations and submit its finding to each party and to the Secretary-General.

At the end of 1971, hostilities again broke out between India and Pakistan. When a ceasefire came into effect again, a number of positions on both sides of the 1949 ceasefire line had changed hands. In July1972, India and Pakistan signed an agreement defining a Line of Control in Kashmir which, with minor deviations, followed the same course as the ceasefire line established by the Karachi Agreement in 1949. India took the position that the mandate of UNMOGIP had lapsed, since it related specifically to the ceasefire line under the Karachi Agreement. Pakistan, however, did not accept this position.

Given the disagreement between the two parties about UNMOGIP's mandate and functions, the Secretary-General's position has been that UNMOGIP could be terminated only by a decision of the Security Council. The military authorities of Pakistan have continued to lodge complaints with UNMOGIP about ceasefire violations. The military authorities of India have lodged no complaints since January 1972 and have restricted the activities of the UN observers on the Indian side of the Line of Control. They have, however, continued to provide accommodation, transport and other facilities to UNMOGIP.

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