In August 1947, India witnessed a perhaps unprecedented situation where a large chunk of its territory was cut away and given for the creation of an Islamic country named Pakistan with a hope that this would be a step in achieving the peace that the subcontinent had longed for several hundred years. However, this was not meant to be. Partition of India that was seen by many as a ‘solution’ but it turned out to be a den of a whole new set of old and new problems.
Ever since the partition of India, apart from an ‘all-weather enemy’ in the form of Pakistan, India also got a never-ending border dispute with Pakistan that arose due to the Islamic nation’s illegal claim over the Indian territory of Jammu and Kashmir and continues till date. Besides the several other ways that Pakistan keeps adopting to create problems for and in India, one of its constant and go-to strategies has been firing and shelling along the Line of Control (LoC).
Establishment of United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan(UNCIP)
In order to investigate and mediate the dispute between the two countries regarding Jammu and Kashmir, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) adopted a resolution in 1948 that established the United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan (UNCIP). The UNCIP existed between 1948 and 1950. The objective of the Commission was to make arrangements for holding a plebiscite in Jammu and Kashmir. After consultation with both the parties, the Commission passed a three-part resolution in 1948. The three parts of the resolution were-
- Terms for truce
- Procedures for negotiation regarding the plebiscite.
Both the countries accepted the resolution and ceasefire was achieved on December 31, 1948.
Karachi Agreement 1949
In July 1949, India and Pakistan signed the Karachi agreement officially known as Agreement Between Military Representatives of India and Pakistan Regarding the Establishment of a Cease-Fire Line in the State of Jammu and Kashmir. The Karachi Agreement was supervised by the Truce Committee of the UNCIP. From July 18, 1949, till the signing of the agreement, the military representatives of India and Pakistan negotiated to demarcate the positions under their control. An 832 km long ceasefire line was established under the Karachi agreement which was to be supervised by military observers. These military observers formed the core of the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP). In March 1951, after the termination of the UNCIP, the Security Council decided that UNMOGIP would continue to supervise the ceasefire in Kashmir.
The situation along the ceasefire line became tense in 1965 when both the countries went to war after India launched a full-fledged attack on Pakistan following its attempts to infiltrate its forces into Jammu and Kashmir and stir an insurgency against India. The war caused thousands of casualties on both sides. After several interventions of the Security Council and the Secretary-General to restore peace along the border, resolution 211 was adopted by the Security Council in September 1965 demanding the two countries to restore ceasefire and withdraw armed forced to the positions held before August 5.
The ceasefire was accepted by both countries. Though the ceasefire was temporarily achieved, the issue of Jammu and Kashmir could not be resolved. Russia mediated between India and Pakistan at Tashkent in order to create a permanent solution to the problem. Tashkent Declaration was signed between India and Pakistan at the end of the mediation. Indian Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri had mysteriously passed away soon after signing the mediation. Even after signing the Tashkent Declaration Pakistan did not give up its Guerrilla war in Jammu and Kashmir.
Conversion of ceasefire line to LoC
Following the Indo-Pakistan war of 1971 also known as the Bangladesh Liberation war, the Shimla Agreement was signed between India and Pakistan. Through the agreement, both the countries vowed to reduce the conflict and improve their mutual relations. The agreement converted the ceasefire line to the Line of Control (LoC). The Indian side has maintained that converting the ceasefire line into the LoC made the UNGOMIP insignificant as its purpose was to monitor the situation along the ceasefire line that no longer existed.
Unending ceasefire violations by Pakistan
No agreement or resolution or no amount of external intervention could help the deteriorating situation between the two countries that resulted in the subsequent military engagements like the Kargil War, Operation Meghdoot. Pakistan’s Guerilla war in Jammu and Kashmir continues till date. Pakistan has been infiltrating terrorists into the Indian borders with the hope of destabilising the country or at least inflicting as much damage on it as it can. The two countries once again expressed their resolved to maintain peace along the LoC by agreeing to a ceasefire along the border in 2003. But, just previous agreements and resolutions, this agreement also failed to improve the situation along the LoC.
Ceasefire violations by Pakistani troops along reached the highest this year since the 2003 agreement. Around 5,100 ceasefire violations by Pakistani troops have been recorded in this year. Shelling and firing along the LoC has also become a sort of reflection of Pakistan’s mood as after the abrogation of Article 370 in August 2019, Pakistan resorted to heavy firing along the border in Jammu and Kashmir. Total number of ceasefire violations recorded in 2019 were 3,289 and out of this 1,565 violations happened in August alone. So far as the ceasefire violations and infiltration along the LoC are concerned, the situation does not seem to be improving anytime soon.