In the month of November of 2011, US State department, published a map of India on it’s web site. In this map, parts of Jammu&Kashmir state, in illegal possession of Pakistan, were shown as parts of Pakistan. It was natural that India’s foreign affairs ministry as well as Indian consulate in US, protested against this error. After this, US State department removed the map from it’s web site.
In the new year, US State department has published again a new map of India on it’s web site. While talking about this new map, the state department spokesperson gave long explanations about how the errors crept in the old map and how effort has been made to clear the old controversy. The spokesperson said that the new map has been drawn according to official policies of the US Government and for any disputed regions, since the US Government does not take any sides in such disputes, the Kashmir region has been shown in dotted lines. He also explained about the Legend given near dotted lines to explain the present position.
However in spite of the singing about the virtues of this new map by US Government spokesperson, nobody from India or Indian Government is likely approve this new map. This map shows the actual line of control in a proper way. But the areas of Gilgit, Skardu anf Baltistan have been shown within areas belonging to Pakistan. In contrast, Aksaichin area belonging to India (Grabbed by China in 1960) has been shown properly as presently controlled by China but claimed by India. This new map is going to be equally controversial and the disagreement between India and US is unlikely to end even with this map.
B.B.C. has recently published a map of this region on it’s web site. This map is perhaps a perfect example of how a map of disputed region should be drawn by a neutral international organization. If we compare the B.B.C. map with the US State department map, it becomes immediately crystal clear that US State department map is still full of errors and it was better for the US State department not to have any map at all on the web site and hide it’s ignorance. Indian people and Government are least likely to accept the State department map and a new controversy is likely to emerge soon.
13 January 2012