Swedish general appointed to head UN India-Pakistan military observers

United Nations, June 9 (IANS) UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has appointed Swedish Major General Per Lodin, a logistics expert, to head the UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) that monitors the situation in Kashmir. India does not recognize the UNMOGIP’s mandate.

He is to succeed Major General Delali Johnson Sakyi of Ghana, who is completing his two-year assignment in July, Ban’s spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said Wednesday.

Lodin is currently the head of Strategic Material Management at F√∂rsvarets materielverk (FMV), the Swedish defence ministry’s procurement and logistics arm.

He had earlier served as the head of the task force centre of Kosovo Force (KFOR), the multi-national peacekeeping mission led by NATO in 2006-2007.

UNMOGIP, which has personnel from 10 countries comprising 44 military members and 72 civilian staff, began operations in 1949.

India maintains that the UNMOGIP has been made irrelevant by the 1972 Simla Agreement between Prime Ministers Indira Gandhi and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto that recognises the Kashmir dispute as a bilateral issue. Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, on the other hand, has called for an expansion of the UNMOGIP and his country continues to file complaints with it about alleged Indian ceasefire violations.

In 2014, India asked the UNMOGIP to leave the government building it had provided the mission.

(Arul Louis can be reached at arul.l@ians.in)

–IANS

al/tb

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