‘Outlived’ UN arm on Ind-Pak LoC appoints new head

India n PakistanThe new head of the United Nations mission tasked with monitoring the ceasefire line between India and Pakistan – UNMOGIP — has called on UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon ahead of taking over his responsibilities.

According to the Security Council mandate given in resolution 307 of 1971, UNMOGIP observes and reports on ceasefire violations along and across the Line of Control and the working boundary between the nuclear-armed South Asian neighbours in Jammu and Kashmir, as well as reports developments that could lead to ceasefire violations.

On its part, India has maintained that UNMOGIP has outlived its utility and is irrelevant after the Simla Agreement and the consequent establishment of the Line of Control (LoC).

Ban had last month appointed Major General Per Gustaf Lodin, 59 of Sweden as Chief Military Observer and Head of Mission for the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP).

Lodin succeeded Major General Delali Johnson Sakyi of Ghana, who completes his two-year assignment Saturday. Ban met Sakyi and Lodin on Friday but no readout of the meeting was issued.

Asked about what was discussed during the meeting, Ban’s spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said at the daily press briefing it was the first meeting with the new head of the mission.

“Obviously the Secretary-General wishes him (Lodin) very well on his important new assignment,” Dujarric said.

With a military career in the Swedish Army beginning in 1978, Lodin most recently held the position of Director of Procurement and Logistics for the Swedish Armed Forces. Previous to this, he was the Deputy Director of the National Armaments for Sweden (2012-2014).

A member of the Swedish Academy of Military Science, Lodin also served as Director of Strategic Planning and Development (2008), Head of Strategies, Research and Development and Business Development (2007), and Deputy Chief of Staff at the Swedish Armed Forces (2005-2006).

As of March 31 this year, UNMOGIP has 44 military observers, 25 international civilian personnel and 47 local civilian staff.

The observer group is financed by the United Nations regular budget and appropriations for biennium 2014-2015 are USD 19.64 million.