United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP)

International Operation Name: United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP)

International Operation Dates:  1950/07/01 to present

Mandating Organization: United Nations (Security Council Resolution 80 (14 March 1950))

Region Name:  Asia

Location:  India-Pakistan

Canadian Operation Name: United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP)

Canadian Operation Dates: 1950/07/01 to 1995/11

Mission Mandate: The United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) was created on 14 March 1950 to supervise the cease-fire between India and Pakistan in the State of Jammu and Kashmir.

Mission Notes:

In August 1947, India and Pakistan gained their independence from Great Britain.  The state of Jammu and Kashmir (commonly known as Kashmir) became a point of conflict between the two nations, over which they went to war.  The United Nations created the United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan (UNCIP), which subsequently assisted in creating a cease-fire.  Attached to UNCIP were military observers, who reported to UNCIP’s Senior Military Advisor.   When UNCIP was dissolved on 14 March 1950, the Security Council resolution kept the military observers in place, who thereupon became the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP).

The strength of UNMOGIP has fluctuated according to the level of tension in the area, ranging from a low of thirty-six in 1950 to a high of sixty-seven in 1964, one year before fighting broke out again.  In 2005 it comprised forty-six observers, none of whom was Canadian.    From the outset, UNMOGIP’s observers were posted on both sides of the Line of Control, the name given to the cease-fire line agreed to in 1949, and their task is to observe and report on compliance with that agreement.  Forbidden from intervening, their presence did not prevent the outbreak of war between India and Pakistan in 1965 or again in 1971.  India’s success in the latter war changed the location of Line of Control, and led India to argue that UNMOGIP’s mandate had now lapsed, but despite the fact that the original UN intervention was based on the principle of consensus, the Secretary General ruled that only the UN Security Council could terminate UNMOGIP, which it has yet to do.

Canada contributed eight of UNMOGIP’s original thirty-four observers – on a one-year posting involving six months on each side of the Line of Control.  A ninth was added in 1955.  Nine years later the UN asked Canada to provide air transport as well, and the RCAF despatched one DHC-4 Caribou, three officers, and five ground crew from No 102 Composite Squadron (102 KU) in Trenton.

They came under fire in the 1965 war, and the Caribou was severely damaged in a strafing attack by a Pakistani Air Force Sabre, but fortunately there were no casualties to personnel.  With the cease-fire, the personnel of 102 KU were temporarily attached to 117 Air Transport Unit  (117 ATU) from September 1965 to March 1966.  Here they supported both UNMOGIP and United Nations India-Pakistan Observer Mission (UNIPOM) air requirements.  With the end of UNIPOM’s mandate, the personnel of 102 KU returned to their normal duties in support of UNMOGIP.  They also officially became a unit of the Royal Canadian Air Force, 102 Composite Unit Detachment.

On 8 July 1968, 102 KU was renamed 424 Squadron and soon afterwards the first Twin Otter arrived to replace the Caribou.  This aircraft did not serve long, however, as it was destroyed on the ground at Rawalpindi four months later, following the outbreak of the 1971 India-Pakistan War. 

On 1 April 1975, the 424 Squadron UNMOGIP Detachment was officially disbanded, and all personnel had left by the end of March.  Canada’s permanent contribution was now reduced to the original number of nine military observers.  This was reduced to one by the end of 1978 and eliminated altogether in early 1979.  Since then, Canada’s contribution to UNMOGIP has been transient and transitory in nature.  CC-130 Hercules aircraft from Nos 435 and 436 Transport Squadrons routinely moved UNMOGIP headquarters from Rawalpindi to Srinagar and back again, but these missions lasted no more than a few weeks each time and they ceased in 1996 when UNMOGIP decided that it would be more cost-effective to move by truck.  As it happened, therefore, the last Hercules flight prior to this decision – that undertaken in October 1995 – became Canada’s last concrete contribution to UNMOGIP, bringing an end to a thirty-six year commitment involving over 350 Canadian military personnel. 

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