India and Pakistan continue peace process

 

While the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) continued to perform its mandate of “observing and reporting” on the status of the ceasefire along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir, the year 2006 was marked by the continuing after-effects of the devastating earthquake that shook parts of India and Pakistan on 8 October 2005.

 

Although relief and humanitarian operations are not within its mandate, until recently, UNMOGIP was providing logistical support to the various UN agencies and programmes involved in earthquake relief efforts. On 8 October 2006,UNMOGIP marked the one-year anniversary of the earthquake with a ceremony at its Rawalpindi headquarters to remember all those who lost their lives in the earthquake and to honour, in particular, the UNMOGIP personnel and their families who perished.

 

Both Governments showed political will to resolve outstanding issues via the Composite Dialogue between them and the implementation of Confidence- Building Measures (CBMs) and other political and economic measures. Included among the CBMs are three new crossing points opened by Indian and Pakistani authorities along the Line of Control. These crossing points have allowed civilians from both sides to see family members, some for the very first time.The Government of India has also held two roundtable conferences to which all parties to the conflict in Indian- administered Jammu and Kashmir were invited.

 

Unfortunately, relations between the two Governments deteriorated somewhat in the wake of the Mumbai train bombings on 11 July. Following these events, all dialogue between the two countries ceased and was not resumed until their Presidents met at the Non- Aligned Movement (NAM) conference in Havana, Cuba, two months later. That meeting resulted in both leaders issuing unofficial invitations to each other to visit their respective countries and consolidated their intention to reinstate diplomatic dialogue.

 

Despite positive developments in 2006, the dispute over the status of Jammu and Kashmir remains unresolved. UNMOGIP will continue to carry out its mandate and support the efforts of both Governments to continue their dialogue and further the peace process.

 

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Prepared by the Peace and Security Section, United Nations Department of Public Information.

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