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Pakistan’s cartographic warfare

Pakistan’s cartographic warfare

UPSC CSE Mains Syllabus: GS-2-  India and its neighborhood- relations.

Pakistan’s cartographic warfare

In news:

  • On August 4, Pakistan Prime Minister announced a new political map of Pakistan.
  • With this, Pakistan became the third country to launch a new political map after India and Nepal did the same in November 2019 and May 2020, respectively.
  • India had reiterated its territorial claims in Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh with the new map.
  • This triggered a reaction from Nepal which contested Indian claims in the Kalapani region of Pithoragarh district.
  • The territorial claims of Pakistan are of a far greater extent and challenge many of the past understandings and treaties.

Pakistan’s claims:

  • The new political map of Pakistan has claimed the entire region of Jammu and Kashmir stretching all the way to the edge of Ladakh.
  • The map also claims Junagarh and Manavadar, a former princely State and territory, respectively, that are part of present-day Gujarat.
  • It leaves out a claim line at the eastern end of J&K indicating Pakistan’s willingness to make China a third party in the Kashmir issue.
  • This clearly runs counter to the Simla Agreement which treated Kashmir as a bilateral matter.
  • At the launch of the map, Pakistan Prime Minister said the border in that area will be fixed after resolving the Kashmir issue.
  • Pakistan also claimed the entire territory and water bodies that fall in the Sir Creek region in the westernmost part of India.

Cartographical warfare:

  • The map is likely to lead to changes in Pakistan’s position on territorial disputes with India.
  • By demanding the entire Jammu and Kashmir region, is changing the main features of Pakistan’s Kashmir discourse as it includes the Jammu region prominently.
  • The inclusion of Junagarh and Manavadar opens fundamental issues of territorial sovereignty of India.
  • Manavadar, a princely territory, joined India on February 15, 1948 and Indian troops marched into Junagarh in September that year incorporating it into Indian territory.
  • By normalising Islamabad’s claims over these former princely territories, Pakistan is most likely to assert its rights over the former princely State of Hyderabad as well.
  • The map may be used to provide legal cover for some of Islamabad’s territorial ambitions, especially in Kashmir and Sir Creek.

Rann of kutcch arbitration:

  • Sir Creek is a collection of water bodies that extend from the Arabian Sea deep inside the territory of Kutch and is rich in biodiversity and mangrove forests.
  • India’s position on Sir Creek is based on the Kutch arbitration case of 1966-69.
  • The new map can be used to reassert Pakistan’s claims regarding the Rann which it had lost in the arbitration conducted in Geneva.
  • India’s position regarding Sir Creek is based on the fact that the arbitration had granted the entire Rann and its marshy areas to India while leaving the solid land across the Rann to Pakistan.
  • By demanding the demarcation to shift towards the eastern bank, Pakistan appears to be going back also on the spirit of the Rann of Kutch arbitration where the overwhelming evidence of maps supported India’s claims over the Rann and its marshlands.
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Are there any claims on its western borders?

  • The map is silent about territorial claims in the west and northwest of Pakistan.
  • It indicates Islamabad’s acceptance of the Durand Line as the border with Afghanistan.
  • However, not all is well in the western front either.

Any chances of a diplomatic battle:

  • While launching the map, Mr. Khan described it as a document that depicts the aspiration of the people of Pakistan.
  • However, by describing it as the new political map of Pakistan it will eventually trigger diplomatic battles with India as it negates previous understandings.
  • In Delhi, the Ministry of External Affairs said Pakistan’s new political map is an exercise in “political absurdity”

Source:”The Hindu”.


Pakistan has unveiled a new map that threatens the territorial sovereignty of India. How will it affect the relationship that already has been at an all-time low?