Current Affairs
Explained

Pakistan’s new political map

  • Posted By
    10Pointer
  • Categories
    World Affairs
  • Published
    10th Aug, 2020
  • Context

    Pakistan released a new political map that claimed all of Jammu and Kashmir as Pakistan territories, on the eve of the first anniversary of revocation of Article 370. It also includes Ladakh, Sir Creek and Junagadh.

  • Background

    • India faces territorial issues with many of its neighbours. Over the past 70 years, it has succeeded to resolve its boundary issues only with Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
    • The un-demarcated boundaries with Myanmar, Bhutan and lately with China, Pakistan and Nepal have often flared up into tensions.
    • However there seems no end to boundary disputes with China and Pakistan, which often turn into a major military and diplomatic standoffs.
  • What is this News Political Map?

    • On paper, the map links Pakistan with Chinese-administered territory via the Shaksgam Valley, a part of the Gilgit-Baltistan region ceded to China by Pakistan under their 1963 border settlement.
    • To the east is the Aksai Chin region – the limit of China’s claims in Kashmir which it has controlled since a 1962 war with India.
    • Between the two lies the Siachen Glacier, an undefined area at the northern extreme of the de facto border between Pakistani- and Indian-administered Kashmir known as the Line of Control – not to be confused with the Line of Actual Control, which separates Indian- and Chinese-controlled territory in the region.
    • The new map showed Pakistan frontier clearly marked with India with the entire Kashmir as its territory.
    • However, the part of Kashmir and Ladakh border with China was not marked and described as Frontier Undecided.
    • Similarly, the Line of Control had been extended to the Karakoram Pass, clearing showing Siachen as part of Pakistan. The LoC had been marked by a red dotted line.
    • The J&K had been described as Disputed Territory Final status to be decided in line with relevant UNSC resolutions.
    • Another change in the map showed that the international border lines lies along the eastern bank of Sir Creek, which was previously along the western bank.
  • What is Sir Creek?

    • Sir Creek is a 96-km strip of water disputed between India and Pakistan in the Rann of Kutch marshlands.
    • Originally named Ban Ganga, Sir Creek is named after a British representative.
    • The Creek opens up in the Arabian Sea and roughly divides the Kutch region of Gujarat from the Sindh Province of Pakistan.
    •  Apart from strategic location, Sir Creek's core importance is fishing resources. Sir Creek is considered to be among the largest fishing grounds in Asia.

      Note: The other inclusion is that of Junagadh, also in coastal Gujarat

      Junagarh

      • Junagarh is situated in the western state of Gujarat at the foothills of the Girnar Hills.
      • The city of Junagarh takes its name from the fort that encloses the old city.
      • Junagarh was an important trade centre as testified by the Ashokan edicts dating from 250 BC.

      At the time of partition, the Nawab of Junagarh opted to take his tiny state into Pakistan. However, the predominantly Hindu population forced the Nawab to leave the country instead.

  • Is it a copy?

    • Such maps were published in 1947-48 when Mohammed Ali Jinnah was Pakistan’s first governor general.
    • But the Islamic Republic had to rework the map that then had also included East Pakistan or the present day Bangladesh.
  • Is this a‘tit-for-tat’?

    • The move is timed with the first anniversary of the abrogation of Article 370, which granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir.
    • Pakistan’s inclusion of J&K and Ladakh appears to be a tit-for-tat for India’s inclusion of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir as part of the union territory of Jammu & Kashmir, and of Gilgit Baltistan as part of Ladakh in the new map the government released on November 2 after the re-organization of J&K came into effect on October 31 last year.
  • What are the Major border disputes with Pakistan?

    Jammu and Kashmir: It is the center of the major dispute between Pakistan and India. Three wars have been fought between the two countries over Jammu and Kashmir.

    • Siachen Glacier: The Siachen Glacier is located in the eastern Karakorams in the Himalayas just east of the Actual Ground Position Line between India-Pakistan. India controls all of the Siachen Glacier itself, including all tributary glaciers. At 70 km (43 mi) long, it is the longest glacier in the Karakoram and second-longest in the world's non-polar areas.
    • Saltoro Ridge: The Saltoro Mountains is a sub range of the Karakoram Heights or of Saltoro Ridge. They are located in the heart of the Karakoram, on the southwest side of the Siachen Glacier. They are claimed as part of Ladakh union territory by India and as part of Gilgit-Baltistan by Pakistan. In 1984, India assumed military control of the main peaks and passes of the range, with Pakistani forces into the glacial valleys just to the west.
    • Sir Creek: The Sir Creek is a 96 km (60 mi) strip of water disputed between India and Pakistan in the Rann of Kutch marshlands. Pakistan claims the line to follow the eastern shore of the estuary while India claims a center line
  • How would it impact?

    • The impact of PM Khan’s cartographic hallucination on India-Pakistan ties is very significant.
    • By reopening the 1947-48 maps, Pakistan has given up on bilateralism of 1972 Shimla Agreement and 1999 Lahore Declaration - the two agreements that committed both nations to resolving bilateral disputes bilaterally - and paved a way for unilateralism.
  • Is Pakistan working in collusion?

    • But the map is also telling commentary about Pakistan’s relationship with its ‘iron brother’ China that has been engaged in a standoff with India for the last three months in East Ladakh.
    • PM Khan, who is often accused of reducing Pakistan as a client-state of Xi Jinping’s China, has not only kept Shaksgam Valley and Aksai Chin out of its cartographic expansion but also left this frontier undefined to let China draw the line on the map.

      Boundary disputes with China

      • Aksai Chin: Located in the north-western part of the Tibetan Plateau, it is approximately 35,241 sq km in size, administered by China and part of the Xinjiang Autonomous Region. India considers it a part of its union territory of Ladakh.
      • Depsang Plains: The Depsang Plains are located on the border of the union territory of Ladakh and disputed zone of Aksai Chin. The Chinese Army controlled most of the plains during its 1962 war with India, while India controls the western portion of the plains.
      • Demchok, Chumar: Both in the Leh district of Ladakh, controlled by India.
      • Kaurik, Shipki La: In the Kinnour district of Himachal Pradesh.
      • Nelang, Pulam Sumda, Sang, Jadhang and Lapthal: In the Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand.
      • Barahoti: In the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand whose grazing fields are disputed by China, which is also in the state of Uttarakhand and is controlled by India.
      • Trans-Karakoram Tract: An area of nearly 5,800 square kilometers (2,239 sq mi) along both sides of the Shaksgam River is entirely administered by China as a part of Kargilik County in the Kashgar Prefecture of the Xinjiang Autonomous Region.
      • Arunachal Pradesh: Arunachal Pradesh is a state of India created on Jan. 20, 1972, and located in the far northeast. The majority of the territory is claimed by China as part of South Tibet.


    • It is quite evident that Pakistan has followed Nepal. Kathmandu had issued a map to emphasise its illegal claims on Lipulekh, Limiyadhura and Kalapani in India’s Uttarakhand on 21 May 2020.
    • It is not mere coincidence that both Pakistan and Nepal are close allies of Beijing with the latter pumping in money in form of infrastructure aid to prop up both regimes.
  • What’s India’s take on the issue?

    • India, like Pakistan, claims Kashmir in its entirety and has no interest in pursuing a United Nations-supervised plebiscite, supported by Islamabad, for the region’s residents to decide which country they should join.
    • While the Indian government has dismissed the new Pakistan map as a “political absurdity”, the map opens up the route for unilateralism and India may choose to invoke it in future as Islamabad has indulged in unilateralism by issuing a new map that depicts territories firmly under Indian control as Pakistan’s territory.

    Conclusion

    Perhaps, the move to redraw the Pakistani map stemmed from the need to satisfy the jingoistic domestic constituency. Diplomatically, the redrawing of the map will have no impact whatsoever on India.