What is Simla Agreement?

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Topics covered:

Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

 

What is Simla Agreement?

 

What to study?

For prelims and mains: Simla agreement- origin, impact and outcomes, has it been successful?

 

Context: United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has expressed concern over the situation in Jammu and Kashmir. Referring to the Simla Agreement, which was signed by India and Pakistan in 1972, Guterres said the “final status of J&K is to be settled by peaceful means, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations”.

 

What is Simla Agreement and why was it signed?

The Simla Agreement was signed by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and Pakistani President Zulfikar Ali Bhutto on 2 July 1972, following a full-blown war between India and Pakistan in 1971.

The Simla Agreement was “much more than a peace treaty seeking to reverse the consequences of the 1971 war (i.e. to bring about withdrawals of troops and an exchange of PoWs).” It was a comprehensive blue print for good neighbourly relations between India and Pakistan.

Under the Simla Agreement both countries undertook to abjure conflict and confrontation which had marred relations in the past, and to work towards the establishment of durable peace, friendship and cooperation.

The two countries not only agreed to put an end to “conflict and confrontation” but also work for the “promotion of a friendly and harmonious relationship and the establishment of durable peace in the sub-continent, so that both countries may henceforth devote their resources and energies to the pressing talk of advancing the welfare of their peoples.”

 

How was this to be achieved?

In order to achieve this objective, both the governments agreed that that the principles and purposes of the Charter of the United Nations would govern bilateral relations and differences would be resolved by “peaceful means through bilateral negotiations or by any other peaceful means mutually agreed upon between them.” 

Regarding Jammu and Kashmir, the two sides had agreed that the line of control “resulting from the cease-fire of December 17, 1971 shall be respected by both sides without prejudice to the recognized position of either side. Neither side shall seek to alter it unilaterally, irrespective of mutual differences and legal interpretations. Both sides further undertake to refrain from the threat or the use of force in violation of this Line.”

Both governments had also agreed that their respective Heads would meet again at a “mutually convenient time in the future the representatives of the two sides will meet to discuss further the modalities and arrangements for the establishment of durable peace and normalization of relations, including the questions of repatriation of prisoners of war and civilian internees, a final settlement of Jammu and Kashmir and the resumption of diplomatic relations.”

 

India had three primary objectives at Shimla:

  1. First, a lasting solution to the Kashmir issue or, failing that, an agreement that would constrain Pakistan from involving third parties in discussions about the future of Kashmir. 
  2. Second, it was hoped that the Agreement would allow for a new beginning in relations with Pakistanbased upon Pakistan’s acceptance of the new balance of power.
  3. Third, it left open the possibility of achieving both these objectives without pushing Pakistan to the wall and creating a revanchist anti-India regime.

 

Sources: the Hindu.