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Gaurav Gupta asked: Why has India rejected proposed neutral investigation into the recent incident of mutilation of Indian soldier’s body, to name and shame Pakistan?

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  • Satish Nambiar replies: It is difficult to answer this question with any degree of credibility as one is not privy to the decision making apparatus within the government now. However, on the basis of one’s experience, it is possible to speculate. Whereas the Government of India dealt with the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) since the Cease Fire Agreement of January 1949, it did not recognise a role for this UN mission subsequent to the Shimla Agreement of 1972 on the grounds that the latter Agreement provided for the resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute on a bilateral basis. To that extent, while Pakistan which took the position that the role for the Mission continued, and therefore carried on registering so-called cease-fire violations after 1972 with the UNMOGIP, the Indian side did not recognise any role for the mission, except to the extent of continuing to provide it with facilities and support for its offices in New Delhi and probably Jammu and Srinagar. It is difficult to comprehend why the Government of India took what was a valid position, but did not seek closure of the UNMOGIP which had no role to play in Jammu and Kashmir.

    Having taken a position that there was no role for an international “third party” in so far as Jammu and Kashmir is concerned, it was probably problematic for the Government of India to take the issue of atrocities like “mutilation” of the bodies of our soldiers in incidents on the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir, to international bodies like the Human Rights Council, etc. Therefore the real answer to the question is that it is not possible to “have the cake and eat it”. That is the problem that confronts the establishment.