LINE OF CONTROL (LOC) The Line of Control became the border between the Indian and Pakistani administered parts of Kashmir after the signing of the Simla Agreement by President Zulfikar Ali Bhutto of Pakistan and Prime Minister Indira Gandhi of India in June 1972 The LOC replaced the ceasefire line established in 1949 after the United Nations mandated cessation of hostilities between the two countries in their first war over Kashmir According to the Simla agreement, “in Jammu and Kashmir, the line of control resulting from the cease-fire of December 17, 1971 shall be respected by both sides without prejudice to the recognized position of either side Neither side shall seek to alter it unilaterally, irrespective of mutual differences and legal interpretation Both sides further undertake to refrain from threat or the use of force in violation of this line”The LOC did not bring about any major adjustments in the areas controlled by the two countries Bhutto left the impression that he would work quickly to have the people of Pakistan accept the LOC as a permanent border According to P N Dhar, who was part of the Indian delegation to Simla, “Bhutto agreed to change the ceasefire line into a line of control, for which he had earlier proposed the term ‘line of peace,’ but also agreed that the line would be gradually endowed with the characteristics of an international border

” In a speech to the National Assembly upon his return to Pakistan, Bhutto vehemently denied that he had reached a secret agreement on Kashmir When a fresh series of negotiations began in 2004 between India and Pakistan, President Pervez Musharraf refused to consider the conversion of the LOC into a permanent international border as one of the options for resolving the issue of Kashmir

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