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US State Department distorts India map

New Delhi, India: The official website of US Department of State, which handles foreign relations of the country, is showing PoK as part of Pakistan, notwithstanding India’s claim over the region. At a time when incorrect India maps are getting the goat of not just the government but also journalists, it is even more alarming news for India’s strategic community, Times of India reported.

Under its A-Z list of countries, the website (www.state.gov), which has the catch line ‘Diplomacy in Action’, carries profiles and maps of all countries with which the US has diplomatic relations. In the case of India, however, the map differs from the official Indian map in that it completely ignores India’s claim over PoK by not even acknowledging its disputed status.

Surprisingly, in the case of Aksai Chin region in the north which shares a boundary with China and is currently occupied by Beijing, the map carries a pointer which does mention ‘Indian claim’. It is only in the case of PoK where it fails to take note of its disputed status and India’s position.

“It shows a distinct pro-Pakistan cartographic tilt that is inconsistent with the UN projection of the entire PoK (including Gilgit-Baltistan) as disputed,” strategic affairs expert Brahma Chellaney said.

Former chief of joint intelligence committee and security expert S D Pradhan said the US needs to be careful about Indian sensitivities, particularly at a time when the two countries are working as strategic partners. “These maps do not reflect PoK either as a disputed area or as Indian territory and it is important that these inaccuracies are brought to the notice of people. This also reflects USA’s soft policy towards Pakistan despite their knowledge that Pakistan Army and ISI are maintaining close links with terrorists and Taliban,” Pradhan said.

In the Pakistan map on the same website, PoK is shown as neatly ensconced in Pakistan with nothing to suggest its disputed status.

India has in the past had the same problem with organizations like Google but this is probably the first time that such an inaccuracy has come to light on a US government website. The common practice now among international news portals, like in the case of BBC, is to refer to the two sides of LoC as India-controlled Kashmir and Pakistan-controlled Kashmir.

In fact, in the recent past, most such cases of faulty Indian maps were reported from India’s eastern border where Arunachal Pradesh was shown as part of China by private companies. In one such case recently, the Chinese ambassador to India Zhang Yan got into an altercation with an Indian journalist after the latter objected to the state being shown in China in a private firm’s brochure.

Source: Times of India