UN observers urge all sides to exercise restraint in Kashmir

UN observers monitoring military activity along the India-Pakistan border in Kashmir. Keystone / Roshan Mughal

The UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP), which includes Swiss members, is concerned about the tense situation in Kashmir. 

This content was published on August 6, 2019 - 10:03

The removal of special autonomy accorded to the northern Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir in 1949 - after it acceded to India in 1947 - has created a tense situation in the region. The government has restricted communications and is on high alert to prevent backlash by locals aggrieved by greater centralisation of power in Delhi.  

“We are following with concern the tense situation in the region. We are also aware of reports of restrictions on the Indian side of Kashmir,” a UNMOGIP spokesperson informed swissinfo.ch.  

Over the past few days, the UN mission which monitors violations of international law in Kashmir, “has observed and reported an increase in military activity along the Line of Control” - the de facto border between India and Pakistan. 

Since 2014, Switzerland has contributed observers to UNMOGIP. Currently three observers from the Swiss army are part of the UN military observers mission there that is made up of 117 personnel (of which 45 are from foreign army or police forces). 

However, the Swiss observers did not want to comment on the current situation in Kashmir.  

“Neutrality towards all parties to the conflict is the most important factor for a UN military observer in action. For this reason, the army members in Kashmir do not answer any questions on political issues,” said a spokesperson from the Swiss Armed Forces International Command (SWISSINT). 

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