Simla Agreement on Bilateral Relations between India and Pakistan was signed by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, and President of Pakistan, Z. A. Bhutto, in Simla on July 2, 1972. The Agreement was ratified on July 28, 1972 and came into force from August 4, 1972.
The Text of the SIMLA AGREEMENT
The Government of India and the Government of Pakistan are resolved that the two countries put an end to the conflict and confrontation that have hitherto marred their relations and work for the promotion of a friendly and harmonious relationship and the establishment of durable peace in the subcontinent so that both countries may henceforth devote their resources and energies to the pressing task of advancing the welfare of their people.
In order to achieve this objective, the Government of India and the Government of Pakistan have agreed as follows:
(i) That the principles and purposes of the Charter of the United Nations shall govern the relations between the two countries.
(ii) That the two countries are resolved to settle their differences by peaceful means through bilateral negotiations or by any other peaceful means mutually agreed upon between them. Pending the final settlement of any of the problems between the two countries, neither side shall unilaterally alter the situation and both shall prevent the organisation, assistance or encouragement of any acts detrimental to the maintenance of peace and harmonious relations.
(iii) That the prerequisite for reconciliation, good neighbourliness and durable peace between them is a commitment by both the countries to peaceful coexistence respect for each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty and noninterference in each other’s internal affairs, on the basis of equality and mutual benefit.
(iv) That the basic issues and causes of conflict which have bedeviled the relations between the two countries for the last 25 years shall be resolved by peaceful means.
(v) That they shall always respect each other’s national unity, territorial integrity, political independence and sovereign equality.
(vi) That in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, they will refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of each other.
Both governments will take all steps within their power to prevent hostile propaganda directed against each other. Both countries will encourage the dissemination of such information as would promote the development of friendly relations between them.
In order progressively to restore and normalise relations between the two countries step by step, it was agreed that:
(i) Steps shall be taken to resume communications, postal, telegraphic, sea, land, including border posts, and air links, including over flights.
(ii) Appropriate steps shall be taken to promote travel facilities for the nationals of the other country.
(iii) Trade and cooperation in economic and other agreed fields will be resumed as far as possible.
(iv) Exchange in the fields of science and culture will be promoted.
In this connection delegations from the two countries will meet from time to time to work out the necessary details.
In order to initiate the process of the establishment of durable peace, both the governments agree that:
(i) Indian and Pakistani forces shall be withdrawn to their side of the international border.
(ii) In Jammu and Kashmir, the line of control resulting from the ceasefire of December 17, 1971, shall be respected by both sides without prejudice to the recognised position of either side. Neither side shall seek to alter it unilaterally, irrespective of mutual differences and legal interpretations. Both sides further undertake to refrain from the threat or the use of force in violation of this line.
(iii) The withdrawals shall commence upon entry into force of this agreement and shall be completed within a period of 30 days thereof.
This agreement will be subject to ratification by both countries in accordance with their respective constitutional procedures, and will come into force with effect from the date on which the instruments of ratification are exchanged.
Both governments agree that their respective heads will meet again at a mutually convenient time in the future and that in the meanwhile the representatives of the two sides will meet to discuss further the modalities and arrangements for the establishment of durable peace and normalisation of relations, including the questions of repatriation of prisoners of war and civilian internees, a final settlement of Jammu and Kashmir and the resumption of diplomatic relations.
The national encyclopedia of Bangladesh Banglapedia records the event as:
Simla Agreement a peace settlement reached between India and Pakistan following the WAR OF LIBERATION of Bangladesh in 1971 which India supported as an ally. The Pakistan army surrendered on 16 December 1971, and the whole army was taken to safety as Prisoners of War. Bangladesh was eager to try them as war criminals. Releasing the prisoners from the Indian custody and keeping them away from the threatened war trial became a grave national issue for the government of Pakistan. On the other hand, India needed to restore normal relations with Pakistan in order to restore its image as a peace loving nation. Pakistan Prime Minister Z.A Bhutto and Indian Prime Minister Mrs Indira Gandhi met in a summit meeting at Simla (28 June-2 July 1972) and signed the peace treaty.
According to the terms of the agreement, India and Pakistan decided to put an end to all hostilities and establish friendly relations between them in all affairs- regional and international and restore the status quo in Jammu and Kashmir as on 17 December 1971. Under this agreement India returned all prisoners of war to Pakistan without holding any trial. India also made a ‘package deal’ with Pakistan, not mentioned in the agreement, under which Pakistan was to accord diplomatic recognition to Bangladesh and open negotiations for mutually exchanging the citizens opting for Bangladesh and Pakistan. [Asha Islam]
A careful reading of the text shows that in the agreement, the signatories Prime minister India Gandhi of India and President Z. A. Bhutto of Pakistan were more concerned for normalizing the bilateral relations of India and Pakistan. There was off-the-record understanding for the diplomatic recognition of Bangladesh by Pakistan. The question of genocide and war crimes is either ignored or neglected and India returned all prisoners of war to Pakistan without holding any trial.
Composed by Dr. M. Razzaque from BUET