United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan (UNCIP)

International Operation Name: United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan (UNCIP)

International Operation Dates: 20 January 1948 – 1 July 1950

Mandating Organization: United Nations

Region Name: Asia            

Location: India and Pakistan          

Canadian Operation Name: United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan (UNCIP)

Canadian Operation Dates: February 1949 – 1 July 1950

Mission Mandate: The United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan (UNCIP) was created to assist India and Pakistan in reaching an accord over the disputed state of Jammu and Kashmir and, after fighting broke out, to arrange a cease-fire between the two nations.

Mission Notes: When the British viceroyalty (and former colony) of India gained its independence in August 1947 it was divided into two new states, India and Pakistan, the former with a Hindu majority and the latter with a Muslim majority. Under the terms of the partition, the 562 independent princely states, including the state of Jammu and Kashmir (commonly known as Kashmir), were free to choose association with either India or Pakistan, a choice usually dictated by the majority religion in the state. In Kashmir, however, while three-quarters of the population was Muslim, the maharaja was Hindu, and his delay in making a choice between India or Pakistan not only provoked internal sectarian violence but Muslim Pathan tribesmen also invaded from what was to become Pakistani territory. Eventually, on 22 October 1947, the Indian Army moved forward to thwart the Pathan advance, an intervention which, in turn, drew the Pakistani Army into the conflict.

On 31 December 1947 India asked the United Nations to intervene. On 20 January 1948, Security Council Resolution 39 created the United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan (UNCIP), but when both parties objected to its planned composition a second Resolution (47) had to be proposed. It was agreed to by the Security Council on 21 April 1948, was acceptable to both parties and the first members of UNCIP arrived in the region on 7 July. By 13 August they had worked out a process to implement and observe a cease-fire, a proposal that was ultimately accepted and brought into force by India and Pakistan on 1 January 1949. The first seven observers arrived three weeks later, and most of the rest – UNCIP’s strength would peak at thirty-four – were in place by the end of February.

This deployment was made with the consent of the two parties and was based on strict principles of impartiality and non-interference. The job of UNCIP was to observe and report, not to interpose itself between the Indian and Pakistani armies to actively prevent conflict and in so doing UNCIP helped establish precisely what the cease-fire line was along the entire Indian-Pakistani frontier. On 18 July 1949 the Karachi Agreement decreed that the cease-fire line would be the Line of Control, along which UNCIP would station observers as it deemed necessary in order to observe and report and, in company with local Pakistani and Indian commanders, investigate alleged breaches.

On 14 March 1950, with the cease-fire holding along the Line of Control, the Security Council passed Resolution 90, which terminated UNCIP and instead appointed a UN Special Representative to assist the two nations in demilitarizing Kashmir as a prelude to finding a permanent solution to the territorial dispute there: both sides continued to argue that they should own territory on the “other” side of the Line of Control. But observers would remain – now as an independent organization, the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP).

Canada was asked to contribute to UNCIP on 10 December 1948; the government agreed; and four were dispatched to Kashmir in February 1949. The commitment doubled to eight in June, and all were transferred to UNMOGIP when it was established. A Canadian, Brigadier H.H. Angle, was appointed UNCIP’s Chief Military Observer in November 1949, and he was holding that post when he was killed in a plane crash in Kashmir on 17 July 1950. 

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