When Major General Delali Johnson Sakyi of Ghana took over Chief Military Observer and Head of Mission for the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) he would have hardly thought that his mission would be in news for all wrong reasons.
Union government had asked the UNMOGIP to hand over the Delhi premises from where it was running a liaison office for more than 40 years for free as part of efforts to rationalise the mission's presence in India.
Sakyi, 59, succeeds Major General Young-Bum Choi of the Republic of Korea, who completed his two-year assignment in June.
A UN statement described Major General Sakyi as a soldier with more than 35 years military command and staff experience, at national and international levels.
UNMOGIP's shuttles its headquarters between Islamabad and Srinagar for six months each in a year. It spents entire winter winter from Novemberto April in Islamabad and in summer it returns to Srinagar and stays here from May to October.
UNMOGIP was set up under the UN resolution with a mandate to observe ceasefire on the line of control in 1951. The UNMOGIP had replaced UNCIP that was monitoring the ceasefire since 1949.
After Simla agreement, the UNMOGIP role somewhat got downgraded with India consistently arguing that it has outlived its utility. That is why despite ceasefire violations by Pakistan, India has not sought any help from UNMOGIP.
Pakistan consistently argues that UNMOGiP should probe the ceasefire violations which India rejects because it would again internationalize the Kashmir issue.
"Kashmiri people are not the party to Simla Agreement therefore they are neither bound by such agreements and nor has this agreement impacted the international status of Kashmir dispute," said the spokesman of hardline Hurriyat Conference led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani.
The spokesman said India itself took this dispute to the UNO and this biggest institution of the world not only justified the struggle of the Kashmiri nation but it also recommended the right to self determination for the people of Kashmir.
"UNO passed 18 resolutions regarding Kashmir and both India and Pakistan are signatory to these resolutions. The order of the government to vacate the office premises of UNMOGIP is equal to running away from the reality," he said.