Q. Why is it in News?
Recently, Pakistan has released a new political map that includes all of Jammu & Kashmir, Ladakh, Sir Creek and Junagadh. The map has been released on the eve of the first anniversary of the abrogation of special status to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370.
Q. What are some issues related to this new map?
- The map depicts entire Jammu & Kashmir as a disputed territory and does not show any borders in the east of Kashmir.
- It has also renamed Kashmir Highway in Islamabad as Srinagar Highway.
- It claims the Siachen, regions of Sir Creek and the erstwhile state of Junagadh in Gujarat as part of Pakistan’s territory.
- This is not the first time Pakistan has tried to portray Junagadh as part of its territory. The 2012 Atlas of Pakistan also portrayed Junagadh as a Pakistan’s territory.
- The map also shows the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) as being part of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
Q. What has been India’s Response?
- India has called Pakistan's move as an exercise in political absurdity, which lays untenable claims to the Indian territories.
- These assertions have neither legal validity nor international credibility and it only confirms the reality of Pakistan’s obsession with territorial aggrandisement supported by cross-border terrorism.
Q. What are some Concerns for India?
- This is the second time in the recent past where India’s neighbouring country has published a new map claiming India’s territories. Nepal was the first country to do so.
- Nepal published its news map claiming the territories of the Kalapani region.
- Closeness of Nepal, Pakistan towards China.
- Recently, China also changed the status quo along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the western sector in its favour.
Q. What is Sir Creek dispute?
- It is a 96 km long strip of water disputed between India and Pakistan in the Rann of Kutch marshlands.
- The dispute lies in the interpretation of the maritime boundary line between Kutch and Sindh.
- Pakistan claims the line to follow the eastern shore of the estuary while India claims a centerline (differing interpretations of paragraphs 9 and 10 of the Bombay Government Resolution of 1914 signed between the then Government of Sindh and Rao Maharaj of Kutch).
- India insists the Sir Creek should be divided between the two countries according to thalweg principle. Under international law, a thalweg is the middle of the primary navigable channel of a waterway that defines the boundary line between states.
- The International Boundary in the Sir Creek area and International Maritime Boundary line (IMBL) between India and Pakistan have not been demarcated.
Q. What are issues with Siachen Glacier?
- The Siachen Glacier is part of Ladakh which has now been converted into a Union Territory. It is the Second-Longest glacier in the World's Non-Polar areas.
- It is located in the Eastern Karakoram range in the Himalayas, just northeast of Point NJ9842 where the Line of Control between India and Pakistan ends.
- It lies immediately south of the great drainage divide that separates the Eurasian Plate from the Indian subcontinent in the extensively glaciated portion of the Karakoram sometimes called the "Third Pole".
- It is the world's highest battlefield.
Q. What is FATA?
The Federally Administered Tribal Areas was a semi-autonomous tribal region in north-western Pakistan that existed from 1947. In 2018 it was merged with the neighbouring province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Q. What can be Way Forward?
- Over the last one year, Pakistan has made several attempts to raise the change in Jammu and Kashmir’s status from a state to a union territory at several international fora but hasn’t been able to get much traction. Further, with Pakistan, India continues to maintain that terror and talks cannot go hand-in-hand.
- With Nepal turning hostile, Sri Lanka tilted towards China, Bangladesh miffed over the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 and India out of Iran’s Chabahar railway link project (which India was to have constructed), there is a relative decline in India’s sphere of influence, especially in its neighbourhood and the extended neighbourhood. This demands a deeper examination of the foreign policy.