The Simla Agreement (or Shimla Agreement) was signed between India and Pakistan on 2 July 1972 in Simla, the capital city of the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. It followed from the Bangladesh Liberation war in 1971 that led to the independence of Bangladesh, which was earlier known as East Pakistan and was part of the territory of Pakistan. India entered the war as an ally of Bangladesh which transformed the war into an Indo-Pakistani War of 1971. The agreement was ratified by the Parliaments of both the nations in same year.
The agreement was the result of resolve of both the countries to "put an end to the conflict and confrontation that have hitherto marred their relations". It conceived the steps to be taken for further normalisation of mutual relations and it also laid down the principles that should govern their future relations. However, this was not respected as dictators repeatedly came into power in Pakistan and aggression continued on both sides
Details of the Simla agreement
The treaty was signed in Simla, India, by Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, the President of Pakistan, and Indira Gandhi, the Prime Minister of India. The agreement also paved the way for diplomatic recognition of Bangladesh by Pakistan. Technically the document was signed on 0040 hours in the night of 3 July, despite this official documents are dated 2 July 1972. Few major outcomes of the Simla Agreement are:
Both countries will "settle their differences by peaceful means through bilateral negotiations". India has, many a times, maintained that Kashmir dispute is a bilateral issue and must be settled through bilateral negotiations as per Simla Agreement, 1972 and thus, had denied any third party intervention even that of United Nations.
The agreement converted the cease-fire line of 17 December 1971 into the Line of Control (LOC) between India and Pakistan and it was agreed that "neither side shall seek to alter it unilaterally, irrespective of mutual differences and legal interpretations". Many Indian bureaucrats have later argued that a tacit agreement, to convert this LOC into international border, was reached during a one-on-one meeting between the two heads of government. However, Pakistani bureaucrats have denied any such thing. This identification of a new "cease-fire line" by both the states has been argued by India as making United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan insignificant. As according to India, the purpose of UNMOGIP was to monitor the cease-fire line as identified in Karachi agreement of 1949 which no longer exists. However, Pakistan have a different take on this issue and both countries still host the UN mission.
The agreement has not prevented the relationship between the two countries from deteriorating to the point of armed conflict, most recently in the Kargil War of 1999. In Operation Meghdoot of 1984 India seized all of the inhospitable Siachen Glacier region where the frontier had been clearly not defined in the agreement (possibly as the area was thought too barren to be controversial), this was considered as a violation of the Simla Agreement by Pakistan. Most of the subsequent deaths in the Siachen Conflict have been from natural disasters, e.g. avalanches in 2010, 2012 and 2016