Blueprint to peace: 47 years of India-Pakistan Simla Agreement
Forty-seven years have passed since India and Pakistan signed the Simla Agreement for a peaceful settlement of all disputes and problems between the two countries.
Let's take a look:
Liberation of Bangladesh
The relations between India and Pakistan had been strained since Partition and had further deteriorated after the 1971 war, which also led to the creation of Bangladesh, which was known as East Pakistan.
Signed by Indira Gandhi and President Zulfikar Ali Bhutto
Six months after Bangladesh was liberated, the Simla Agreement was signed by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and President Zulfikar Ali Bhutto of Pakistan on 2nd July 1972. It was much more than a peace treaty seeking to reverse the consequences of the 1971 war, that is, to bring about withdrawals of troops and exchange of PoWs.
Henceforth, the Simla Agreement and not the UN Security Council resolution of 1949, would be the touchstone between the two countries, for negotiations as well as disputes, the treaty said.
Comprehensive blue print
It was a comprehensive blueprint 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 Simla Agreement contains a set of guiding principles, mutually agreed to by India and Pakistan, which both sides would adhere to while managing relations with each other.
These emphasize: respect for each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty; non-interference in each other’s internal affairs; respect for each others unity, political independence; sovereign equality; and abjuring hostile propaganda.
India agreed to return 90,000 prisoners of war it had captured from Pakistan. In return, Bhutto verbally assuranced Gandhi, that he would return home and make permanent the Line of Control that bifurcated Kashmir into an international boundary.
India has faithfully observed the Simla Agreement in the conduct of its relations with Pakistan.