Simla Agreement

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]