Indo-Pak Cease Fire Tensions

In August 1947, India and Pakistan became independent. India’s border with Pakistan was delineated in 1947 when the British Raj left India. Under the scheme of partition enshrined under the Indian Independence Act 1947, Kashmir was free to accede to India or Pakistan[1].

Hari Singh, who had ascended the throne of Kashmir in 1925, was the reigning monarch in 1947 at the conclusion of British rule.  The Maharaja signed a standstill agreement with Pakistan, to ensure continuity of trade, travel, communication, and similar services between the two. Such an agreement was pending with India[2]. Following huge riots in Jammu, in October 1947, Pashtuns from Pakistan’s North-West Frontier Province recruited by the Poonch rebels, invaded Kashmir. The guerilla campaign was to frighten Hari Singh into submission and accede to Pakistan

 The Hindu ruler Hari Singh allied himself with India when confronted with large numbers of infiltrators from Pakistan[3] and appealed to the Government of India for assistance. The then Governor-General Lord Mountbatten agreed on the condition that the ruler accede to India[4]. Once the Maharaja signed the Instrument of Accession[5], Indian soldiers entered Kashmir and drove the Pakistani-sponsored irregulars from all but a small section of the state.

India accepted the Instrument of accession of Kashmir, regarding it provisional[6]. The Pakistani government immediately contested the accession, suggesting that the Maharaja acted under duress and that he had no right to sign an agreement with India when the standstill agreement with Pakistan was still in force.

India sought a resolution of the Kashmir Conflict at the United Nations. 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 military observers. These observers, under the command of the Military Adviser, formed the nucleus of the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP). The UN mission insisted that the opinion of Kashmiris must be ascertained. The then Indian Prime Minister is reported to have himself urged U.N. to poll Kashmir and on the basis of results Kashmir’s accession will be decided[7] .  However, India insisted that no referendum could occur until all of the state had been cleared of irregulars

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.[8]

There are several controversial cartographic frontiers in Jammu and Kashmir—the international border between Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan that is known as the working border in Pakistan; the ceasefire line (CFL) of 1949 that was re-designated as the line of control (LoC) in 1972; the extension of the LoC beyond the last cited grid reference (NJ 9842) in the icy heights of the Siachen, a sector which is known as the actual ground position line (AGPL); and finally the segment east of AGPL, bordering on or controlled by China which is known as the line of actual control or LAC4.

In early 1965, relations between India and Pakistan were strained again because of their conflicting claims over the Rann of Kutch at the southern end of the international boundary and, in August, military hostilities between India and Pakistan erupted on a large scale along the ceasefire line in Kashmir. In his report15 of 3 September 1965, the Secretary-General stressed that the ceasefire agreement of 27 July 1949 had collapsed and that a return to mutual observance of it by India and Pakistan would afford the most favourable climate in which to seek a resolution of political differences.

On 4 September 1965, the Security Council, by resolution 209 (1965), called for a ceasefire and asked the two Governments to cooperate fully with UNMOGIP in its task of supervising the observance of the ceasefire. On 20 September 1965, the Council adopted resolution 211 (1965), by which it demanded that a ceasefire take effect at 0700 hours GMT on 22 September 1965 and called for a subsequent withdrawal of all armed personnel to the positions held before 5 August. The Council also requested the Secretary-General to provide the necessary assistance to ensure supervision of the ceasefire and the withdrawal of all armed personnel.

Since the hostilities extended beyond the Kashmir ceasefire line, the Secretary-General decided to set up an administrative adjunct of UNMOGIP, the United Nations India-Pakistan Observation Mission (UNIPOM), as a temporary measure for the sole purpose of supervising the ceasefire along the India-Pakistan border outside the State of Jammu and Kashmir.

As ceasefire violations continued to occur and there were no prospects for the withdrawal of troops, the Security Council met again in November and adopted resolution 215 (1965) of 5 November. By this decision, the Council called upon the Governments of India and Pakistan to instruct their armed personnel to cooperate with the United Nations and cease all military activity.

On 10 January 1966, the Prime Minister of India and the President of Pakistan, who had met in Tashkent at the invitation of the Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Soviet Union, announced their agreement, Tashkent Declaration, that the withdrawal of all armed personnel of both sides to the positions they had held prior to 5 August 1965 should be completed by 25 February 1966 and that both sides should observe the terms of the ceasefire on the ceasefire line.

Violence along the LoC does not occur in a vacuum. Rather, it reflects the general state of relations between India and Pakistan. Increased violence along the LoC is noteworthy for several reasons. It could portend triggering events leading to a severe crisis, as was the case prior to and during the 2001–2002 “Twin Peaks” crisis. That crisis, sparked by the December 2001 attack on the Indian Parliament by the Pakistan-based extremist groups Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Muhammad, saw more than 2,600 incidents of firing along the LoC[9]. Increased firing along the LoC also makes improved bilateral ties and crisis resolution harder. There is no comprehensive database of ceasefire violations along the LoC.  A report states that in the year 2010, 44 ceasefire violations occurred and in the year  2011 -51, 2012- 93 , 2013 -195[10].

Pakistan had unilaterally announced a ceasefire on the LoC and International Border on November 26, 2003 which was immediately reciprocated by India. Close to 13 years after the ceasefire on the Line of Control (LoC) between India and Pakistan came into force, the number of ceasefire violations has gone up in the last couple of months. Out of the 151 incidents of ceasefire violations on the LoC this year, 110 of them have happened since September 2016 South of Pir Panjal, in Poonch, Mendhar, Naushera and Akhnoor sectors. Uri, Tangdhar, Keren, Machhil and Gurez sectors — areas north of Pir Panjal — have witnessed 21 ceasefire violations in the past two months[11]. 4,675 Indian soldiers have lost their lives along the LoC in ceasefire violations by Pakistan since 2001.  “These ceasefire violations are recorded because they are serious violations, where the exchange of fire is for at least 15-20 minutes. Use of direct and indirect weapons or prolonged firing of small arms is registered as a violation. We don’t count a single burst of small arms as a ceasefire violation,” explained a senior military official posted in Kashmir.[12]

My research confirms commonly-held views that violence along the LoC has been increasing at a notable rate since late 2012, but does not confirm views of a correlation between diplomatic progress  and increases in ceasefire violations.  The increase in violence along the LoC since late 2012 is a clear and concerning marker of the deterioration of India–Pakistan relations on a broader scale. Whether or not ceasefire violations can be attributed to signaling related to high-level meetings, they carry the risk of escalating into a larger crisis or standoff if accompanied by a triggering event[13].

The cease fire violations are Pakistan Army’s attempt to indicate its complete control over issues related to military and foreign policy. More importantly, many view the Pakistani Army as being the spoiler, not only destabilising democracy in its own country but also initiating obstacles for Indo-Pakistan peace[14].

 The relationship between two countries would normally be judged by accepted principles of International Law. However, the relationship between India and Pakistan extends beyond legal relationship and has to been seen with historical, religious and cultural perspectives and their corresponding ramifications.


[2] Schofield, Victoria. ‘Kashmir: The origins of the dispute’, BBC News UK Edition (16 January 2002)

[3] Rajagopalan Kavita, India–Pakistan: new role for forgotten monitors? Trust and Verify, 113, March–April, (VERTIC) (2004)

[4] Stein, B. (1998), A History of India (1st ed.), Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, page 368

[5] Kashmir, Research Paper 04/28 by Paul Bowers, House of Commons Library, United Kingdom., page 46

[6] Govt. of India, White Paper on Jammu & Kashmir , Delhi 1948, p.77

[7] “NEHRU URGES U.N. TO POLL KASHMIR; Would Have Supervised Ballot to Decide Accession – Bomb Attack by India Reported”. The New York Times. 3 November 1947. Retrieved 4 May 2010.

[8] Supra footnote 1

[9] Saikat Datta, “Heard-earned ceasefire gains being shot through since 2010, Hindustan Times, October 9, 2014

[10] Source: Daily Excelsior December 21, 20013.

[11] Sushant Singh, Indian Express New Delhi 8-11-2016

[12] The Indian Express on 5-11-2016

[13] Julia Thompson, The Dynamics of Violence along the Kashmir Divide, 2003-2015

[14] Aditi Malhotra, “India’s Changing Pakistan Policy,” South Asian Voices, October 22, 2014

Contributed by 


Student Editor, Legal Desire Media & Publications


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