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India Slams Pakistan's Absurd Map (8 August 2020)

India Slams Pakistan's Absurd Map (8 August 2020)

Why in News:

The government on Tuesday described as "political absurdity" a map released by Pakistan that includes Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh and parts of western Gujarat.

Context:

New Delhi tore into the map, which it called a "ridiculous assertion without any global credibility" and emerged on the first anniversary of the decision to scrap special status for J&K under Article 370. The map was released Tuesday evening by Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan. "We have seen a so-called "political map" of Pakistan that has been released by Prime Minister Imran Khan. This is an exercise in political absurdity, laying untenable claims to territories in the Indian state of Gujarat and our Union Territories of Jammu & Kashmir and of Ladakh," the government said.

Background:

Pakistan's move comes exactly a year after Indian parliament passed the bill last year to scrap the Article 370 in the Constitution, which gave special rights to Jammu and Kashmir. Pakistan was jolted with the unexpected decision and had been openly opposing the abrogation of Article 370 since then.

The timing of Pakistan's new political map is more interesting as it comes amid the standoff between India and China in Eastern Ladakh, that has been going on for three months now.

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Summary of the Debate

Changes made in New Map:

  • Pakistan frontier clearly marked with India with the entire Kashmir as its territory and does not show any borders in the east of Kashmir.
  • The areas beyond Karakoram Pass are also claimed by Pakistan.
  • The new map claims the Siachen, regions of Sir Creek and the erstwhile state of Junagadh in Gujarat as part of Pakistan’s territory.
  • It claimed areas of Ladakh up to Finger 8 in Pangong Tso area.

Possible reasons:

  • They are also claiming Junagadh, It’s a fact that till the late 1940s and early 50s these kind of map used to be prevalent and they also have the titular head of Junagadh the erstwhile ruler son who is in Karachi and he keeps on issuing statements asking Pakistan to claim Junagadh.
  • But Junagadh is not even contiguous to Pakistan, the entire premises of the partition was that the principle of contiguity have to be followed.
  • Pakistan' government's claim on Ladakh seems to be part of a tacit agreement with China because there has been no objection raised by the Chinese government.
  • Recently, Nepal published its new map claiming the territories of the Kalapani region indicate closeness of Nepal, Pakistan towards China.
  • Pakistan’s failed attempt in getting the attention of International community regarding Kashmir.
  • Pakistan is doing this on the behest of China.

                   Political absurdity': India roasts Imran Khan over Pakistan's new ...

What India can do:

  • In the last few years, we have seen consensus about India’s Pakistan policy being a subset of India’s China policy. Largely, where Pakistan is today deriving its energy is from Chinese support. So, clearly the focus has to be on how to manage China.
  • In the last few years, India has been very resolute with China on a number of issues whether it is BRI (Belt Road Initiative). What is today happening between China and Pakistan has to do with BRI and Chinese frustration at India’s continuing opposition to BRI.
  • So, clearly that element is also playing in the Chinese mind making it easier for China to make it the political case for BRI for the disputed territory if Pakistan issues such a map.
  • India should highlight this issue to the world that what China is doing to India is not simply being done to India but it is being done to larger International order that is facing this immense problem from China’s rise which clearly is creating problem not only for India but also for other stakeholders in the region and beyond.
  • India’s step should be very careful and well measured because India does not want to overstate it, this is what Pakistan and China want and at the same time we cannot allow their propaganda to continue.
  • India has to make it periodically very clear that these maps are not worth a paper they are written on also to point out that if this is how territorial issues are to be resolved then it is a free for all. There has to be some order and some system in taking care, discussing and resolving territorial issues if any.
  • The true face of Pakistan is also known, the global pushback has began. So, India has to stay the course as usual. India cannot change its neighbour so it should continue to expose them.
  • This whole Kashmir issue cannot be resolved quickly so the Indian government should explain to people of Jammu and Kashmir that the whole challenges in valley will take time to get resolved.

Important points made by the Guests

Maj. Gen, Dhruv C. Katoch (Retd.), Director, India Foundation 

  • When the Indian Parliament abrogated the special status of Jammu and Kashmir last year, Pakistan could not get a counter to that particular development and there is intense pressure on Imran Khan to do something. There were comments being given against Pakistan Military where people said you keep talking about Kashmir, now India has done that what you are going to do.
  • The Pakistan military was actually forcing the people of Gilgit Baluchistan to cross over the border and fight.
  • Because Pakistan is really been not able to do something, it wants to show their people that listen we are also getting aggressive. That is the reason they have gone on to this absurdity.
  • It has been done on the behest of China and it is not going to pay them any dividends.
  • The larger danger does not come from Pakistan and on  India’s western region but larger danger can come from China and on Eastern Ladakh. Because what Pakistan’s cartographic aggression has done is to give China an opportunity to enter and now if they do something in eastern Ladakh they can make a claim, however absurd it may be but it makes China to say that we are coming in to eastern Ladakh to help Pakistan because they are claiming it as their territory.
  • What Pakistan has done in the map, the LOC they have actually marked eastwards up to the Karakoram pass which is giving them contiguity on the map with the China.
  • Pakistan has been trying to create an environment by which they can show to the world that the entire valley is up and flames but Pakistan is miserably failed in this. Because what has happened in last one year We have seen a downslide as far as violence levels are concerned, stone pelting reduced by 60 to 70 percent because sponsor activities has came down.
  • So different types of violence coming in now, which is; instead of targeting security forces they have started targeting political representatives.

Vishnu Prakash, Former Ambassador

  • There are two ways to look at it, one is to look at it as ‘Cartographic Aggression’ and the other is to look at it a ‘product of delusion’. We should look at it with later angle. The Pakistan is heading towards being a terror state, the FATF swords dangle on its neck.
  • It was said that Pakistan is run by the USA and the Pakistani Army, now instead of America it is being run by China and the Army.
  • On one hand they come up with the Map claiming entire J & k and their Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi says a couple of day ago that there should be plebiscite because the entire Kashmir region is disputed and needs a solution. So, if entire region is disputed then how can the Pakistan government claim the entire J & K.
  • So, what Pakistan is trying to say that, all that has happened since 1950s and till today is being negated and there is no Shimla agreement, no Lahore declaration and no bilateralism then, in this case, India should also not committ to any agreement, why should India remain committed to Indus Water Treaty.
  • If China and Pakistan continue to behave the way they are then India can play the same game. There is global pushback, Pakistan and China also have much more vulnerability, there is Baluchistan which is in crisis, and there is Taiwan and many other areas. So, they can also be given the taste of their medicine.

Harsh V. Pant, Head, Strategic Studies, ORF 

  • China has been complaining since India abrogated Article 370 in J and K. We have also seen the very recent developments in how China and Pakistan took this matter to the Security Council regarding the territorial issue.
  • Pakistan Is trying since last year to get the attention of International community but the International community has no time for Pakistan.
  • Increasingly, we will have to see that China becoming very very important actor even on these issues. We have to go there at the route and try to figure out that problem.
  • Whatever happens in the geography of Kashmir that will also have to have its route in China and China increasingly becoming vocal about it.
  • We have to be on guard as far as China is concerned and once we have taken care of border issues with China, we have to take into account Chinese presence in the larger geography where China will continue to be very very important player irrespective of what happens to Pakistan.
  • Pakistan can be marginalised but China will have to be dealt with very very firmly.

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