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INDIA / PAKISTAN - UNMOGIP, UNIPOM


HISTORY


The following brief history of Canadian involvement in the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) from 7/1/1950 - 11/30/1995 is from Canadian Department of National Defence Operations Database:


In August 1947, India and Pakistan gained their independence from Great Britain. The state of Jammu and Kashmir (commonly known as Kashmir) became a point of conflict between the two nations, over which they went to war. The United Nations created the United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan (UNCIP), which subsequently assisted in creating a cease-fire. Attached to UNCIP were military observers, who reported to UNCIPís Senior Military Advisor. When UNCIP was dissolved on 14 March 1950, the Security Council resolution kept the military observers in place, who thereupon became the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP).


The strength of UNMOGIP has fluctuated according to the level of tension in the area, ranging from a low of thirty-six in 1950 to a high of sixty-seven in 1964, one year before fighting broke out again. In 2005 it comprised forty-six observers, none of whom was Canadian. From the outset, UNMOGIPís observers were posted on both sides of the Line of Control, the name given to the cease-fire line agreed to in 1949, and their task is to observe and report on compliance with that agreement. Forbidden from intervening, their presence did not prevent the outbreak of war between India and Pakistan in 1965 or again in 1971.


Indiaís success in the latter war changed the location of Line of Control, and led India to argue that UNMOGIPís mandate had now lapsed, but despite the fact that the original UN intervention was based on the principle of consensus, the Secretary General ruled that only the UN Security Council could terminate UNMOGIP, which it has yet to do.


RCAF Caribou 5324.

Canada contributed eight of UNMOGIPís original thirty-four observers Ė on a one-year posting involving six months on each side of the Line of Control. A ninth was added in 1955. Nine years later the UN asked Canada to provide air transport as well, and the RCAF despatched one DHC-4 Caribou, three officers, and five ground crew from No 102 Composite Squadron (102 KU) in Trenton.


They came under fire in the 1965 war, and the Caribou was severely damaged in a strafing attack by a Pakistani Air Force Sabre, but fortunately there were no casualties to personnel. With the cease-fire, the personnel of 102 KU were temporarily attached to 117 Air Transport Unit (117 ATU) from September 1965 to March 1966.


Here they supported both UNMOGIP and United Nations India-Pakistan Observer Mission (UNIPOM) air requirements. With the end of UNIPOMís mandate, the personnel of 102 KU returned to their normal duties in support of UNMOGIP. They also officially became a unit of the Royal Canadian Air Force, 102 Composite Unit Detachment.


On 8 July 1968, 102 KU was renamed 424 Squadron and soon afterwards the first Twin Otter arrived to replace the Caribou. This aircraft did not serve long, however, as it was destroyed on the ground at Rawalpindi four months later, following the outbreak of the 1971 India-Pakistan War.


On 1 April 1975, the 424 Squadron UNMOGIP Detachment was officially disbanded


Another brief history of UNMOGIP and UNIPOM is provided by the Canadian Forces Headquarters (CFHQ), Directorate of History, Report No. 4 titled "Canada and Peace-keeping Operations". Further information on UNIPOM is available in United Nations document "Items-in-Peace-keeping operations - India/Pakistan - United Nations India/Pakistan Observation Mission (UNIPOM)".


If you have any additions to this page, please email Gord Jenkins (click here to email).


BASES, FACILITIES, LOCATIONS


UNMOGIP HQ - Srinagar

Following photos of UNMOGIP HQ in Srinagar taken in 1966 by Johannes Vennix (courtesy of Jan Vennix, son of Johannes Vennix):

Photo courtesy of Jan (John) Vennix - UNMOGIP HQ building in Srinagar 1966 Photo courtesy of Jan (John) Vennix - UNMOGIP HQ main gate Srinagar 1966


REMINISCING


Jan (John) Vennix (Martinborough, NZ) - The UNMOGIP HQ moved every six months for political reasons. The winters in Srinagar (Kashmir, India) at the foothills of the Himalayas were also very cold and from November to April, HQ would be moved to Rawalpindi (Pakistan). In the spring, for the months of May to October, everything would move back to Srinagar. Transport of personnel and equipment for the six monthly shifts would take place with the Caribous. Dad had to go on a few Caribou flights to the UNIPOM/UNMOGIP mountain stations and took pictures of K2 flying over the Himalayas. After the desert flying in Sinai, the altitudes of the Himalayan peaks were quite a challenge for the Caribous.


After partition in 1947 Kashmir became Indian Territory, but it was mostly an uneasy truce with the majority Muslim population of Kashmir. Now and then this came to a head with protests and riots. During and after Israel winning the six day war in June 1967, there were violent anti-western protests in Srinagar. A mob of rioters got past gate security at UNMOGIP HQ and ripped the UN flag off its flag post in front of the UN building. The crowd got very agitated when they could not tear the nylon flag and were ready to storm the UN HQ building. Dad with other UN staff barricaded themselves inside the building. Just in time, more Indian army security arrived to disperse the mob. (The flag post is visible on the left of the UNMOGIP HQ back lawn slide)


Following two images were taken by Johannes Vennix and are provided courtesy of Jan Vennix. Taken from the window of Caribou flights in India. Jan remembers trips with his Father to the Srinagar airstrip to meet the Caribou - he had to fly a large chequered flag from the Jeep station wagon driving across the airfield. Jan also remembers the Caribou delivering a large box of cherries to Rawalpindifrom from his Dad in Srinagar. This was quite a treat as you could hardly get fresh fruit in drought stricken Rawalpindi. :

June 1966 Lakes around Srinagar, flight to Rawalpindi - image courtesy of Jan Vennix May 1967 flight  Kargil - Srinagar,  K2 in the background - image courtesy of Jan Vennix


David LambWe had 3 Caribous in Egypt in 1967 prior to the Middle East 6 Day War. It was an exciting time. The UN was dismissed and we ferried them back to Canada. I then flew one for a year with the United Nations Military Observer Group India and Pakistan. It was the ideal aircraft for the Himalaya Mountains. We worked into short fields at high elevations. We flew by K2 mountain at 28,000 ft one day sucking O2. The mountain top was still above us at 28,251 ft. Great aircraft although the engine was a little weak. Five times I came home with one feathered.