Does Gujarat Government acknowledge China and Pakistan occupied Kashmir are not part of India?
On 28th September 2022, the Union Cabinet approved the redevelopment of the New Delhi, Ahmedabad, and Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) railway stations. A staggering sum of Rs.10,000 crores have been earmarked for the project. Following this announcement, the official twitter handle of CMO Gujarat tweeted a project info-graphic video which contained a map of India with parts of China occupied Kashmir (CoK), Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) and Arunachal Pradesh left out.
This received an outrage on social media including from the supporters of the BJP following which the tweet was deleted. This stoked a criticism if CMO Gujarat had conceded that Pakistan and China occupied parts of Jammu & Kashmir are not part of India.
Congress leader Shashi Tharoor who is contesting the upcoming presidential election of the Indian National Congress had issued an election manifesto which also included an incorrect map of India with CoK and PoK as not part of Indian territory. Some sections of BJP severely attacked Shashi Tharoor despite similar error was made by Chief Minister’s Office of Gujarat which is currently ruled by the BJP with Bhupendra Rajnikant Patel as the Chief Minister from September 13,2021.
The wrong depiction of India map is quite a common occurrence given India’s border dispute on multiple fronts with China and Pakistan despite the official political map of India being very clear regarding India’s border and its territories. It is interesting to note that various entities such as BBC, Twitter, WHO, Facebook had depicted an incorrect map of India over the years. This is largely due to the fact the international community considers Kashmir as a disputed region and largely remains aloof to maintain the status quo and not escalate any tensions in the region and also in the geo-political scene.
But from the Indian perspective, the official Political map is very clear regarding its borders following the Johnson’s Line which was proposed in 1865 which shows both Pakistan and China occupied Kashmir as Indian Territory. Whereas, China follows McDonald Line which was proposed in 1893 and it largely puts Akshai Chin region in Chinese control.
Let’s delve into a bit more to understand how the incorrect map which is being shared sporadically even by some Indians came to be.
Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK)
There were some princely states that remained independent even through the British India and at the time of the Independence, there were 565 recognized princely states and almost all of them ceded to India. One such princely state was Jammu and Kashmir ruled by Raja Hari Singh who chose to remain independent as joining India would mean he would lose his monarchy if he cedes to a democratic India. However, he ended up agreeing to cede Jammu and Kashmir to India and an “Instrument of Accession” was signed on October 26, 1947 following an Pakistan supported Pashtun terrorist uprising which captured major part of North western Kashmir which forced him to flee to Jammu. After the signing, Indian army stepped in and stopped Pashtun advance. Though the advancement of the terrorists to the south of Kashmir was halted, Pakistan refused to recognize the Instrument of Accession which resulted in a two year Kashmir war between India and Pakistan.
A ceasefire was agreed upon by the two countries on 1st January 1949 and the ceasefire line came to be known as the Line of Control (LoC). Although India managed to retain major part of its territories, Pakistan retained Gilgit and Baltistan. Although India wants to reclaim the Pakistan occupied regions of Gilgit and Baltistan, the Line of Control (LoC) serves as India’s defense line today.
China occupied Kashmir
The border dispute between India and China predate the Indian Independence. The current Indian border that India follows is based on the “Ardagh–Johnson Line” which is more commonly called Johnson line.
This line was based on a survey taken by W.H.Johnson in 1865 with Survey of India. This line included the regions now called as Aksai Chin in British India’s territory. However, British Indian Government proposed “Macartney-McDonald Line” commonly called McDonald Line in 1899 to China. China did not respond to the proposal back then and British India reverted back to the Johnson’s Line. Following India’s independence, India continued using Johnson’s line but China preferred McDonald Line. It took control of the cold flatland desert of Aksai Chin in the 1950s and started building a highway to connect Tibet with Xinjiang regions through the region. India opposed China’s move strongly but China continued its aggressive plan which resulted in the Sino-India war of 1962. China strengthened its military grip of the region after the Sino-India war of 1962 in which China further captured even more land which over reaches even the MaCartney Line. At the end of the war, a ceasefire was reached and the ceasefire line which now serves as the army defense line is called Line of Actual Control (LAC). At the end of the war, an area of 38,000 square kilometers has been retained by China. The region that China took over from India’s claimed region is known as the Aksai Chin region and it continues to be a part of Xinjiang province of China as per its claims.
There is no clear path for India to resolving these border disputes with Pakistan and China right now. In the mean time, India continues to maintain China and Pakistan occupied regions as its own territories which the international community is reluctant to agree, mainly as a tactic to not provoke or antogonise China. Since there is no consensus on the border of India with respect to Kashmir, these incidents of using wrong maps of India by foreign elements are likely to continue. However, some from within India too sometimes use the wrong map of India by accident.
Recently, ‘The Hindu’ was accused of mentioning Srinagar as Indian controlled Kashmir by the right wing supporters.
Cheena mouth piece @the_hindu is calling Kashmir as India controlled Kashmir. Why isn’t Govt taking action against these anti national media @ianuragthakur @AmitShah
They are as dangerous as PFI SDPI pic.twitter.com/n8AlIZtuQK
— Swathi Bellam (@BellamSwathi) September 27, 2022
Now, Shashi Tharoor is being targeted for showing an incorrect map of India for which he issued an unconditional apology. But the same mistake from Chief Minister’s Office of Gujarat, for which there has not been any apology, is overlooked which exposes the clear hypocrisy of the right wing supporters.