The Secretary-General -- Remarks at the UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) Headquarters in Islamabad, Pakistan
Islamabad, 16 February 2020
Head of Mission and Chief Military Observer Major General Alcain,
UN military observers,
Ladies and gentlemen,
I am delighted to join you today to honour the important contribution of the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan. I would like to extend to you my deepest gratitude for your service to the United Nations and the Mission. I have been to Pakistan many times, but this is the first time in my capacity as the United Nations Secretary-General. I ampleased to be able to visit the newly refurbished Mission headquarters in Islamabad.
You are part of a long tradition of United Nations Military Observers in this region. The first group of United Nations military observers arrived in the mission area on 24 January of 1949 to supervise the ceasefire between India and Pakistan in the State of Jammu and Kashmir. This makes UNMOGIP the second oldest UN peacekeeping operation. While UNMOGIP may bea small peacekeeping operation, it continues to have an important mandated role and provides avisible presence of the United Nations and the international community on both sides of the Line of Control.
I wish to acknowledge that you are serving during a critical time and heightened tensions between India and Pakistan. During this challenging period, we have been able to count on your professionalism and commitment to ensure that the Mission was able to continue to implement its mandate, as established by the Security Council, to supervise the observance of the ceasefire along the Line of Control. I would also like to pay special tribute to Major General Alcain for his professionalism and leadership during the challenges faced last year.
It is clear that resolving the dispute over Jammu and Kashmir is key to sustainable peace in the South Asia region. I firmly believe that regional security should be maintained through political and diplomatic solutions and that all difficult challenges can be resolved peacefully and satisfactorily through meaningful mutual engagement. Hence, I have continued to urge the leaders of India and Pakistan to engage constructively and appealed to both sides to exercise maximum restraint.
We are working hard to make peacekeeping stronger, safer and more effective, through my Action for Peacekeeping initiative. I am committed to working together in strong partnership with Member States, to meet this challenge. So far, A4P has been endorsed by 152 Member States.
Among my priorities as Secretary-General is the Women, Peace and Security agenda. This is not new – in fact this year marks two decades since the adoption of the Women, Peace and Security Agenda. I am committed to seeing increased participation of women in peacekeeping during my tenure, increasing the number of civilian and uniformed women in peacekeeping at all levels and in key positions. I urge all of us to redouble our efforts in this regard.
I would like to acknowledge the eight women serving as UN military observers in UNMOGIP. The United Nations continues to strive to encourage more women peacekeepers in our Missions around the world. The presence of women peacekeepers has a positive effect on its missions, provides role models for women in the community and provides a greater sense of security to local populations.
I would also like to remember the eleven Military Observers who have fallen in service to the United Nations since the Mission was established and offer my condolences to their families and their countries.
To all of you, your contribution to UNMOGIP has been valued and appreciated. You have served honourably and courageously to uphold stability in the region, for which you can be proud.
I thank you all.