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Pentagon report's map showing PoK as part of Pakistan indicates US' perception of boundaries unchanged since Cold War

Some things never seem to change. One of them may well be the United States department of defence’s cartographic perception of the India-Pakistan boundary, which seemingly has not changed from the Cold War-era when India was seen to be a Soviet bloc follower. If one goes by the Pentagon representation, then there is no dispute between India and Pakistan over that part of Kashmir which is under Pakistan’s control.

 Pentagon reports map showing PoK as part of Pakistan indicates US perception of boundaries unchanged since Cold War

File image of Pentagon. Reuters

Released on Thursday (2 May), the Pentagon's much-awaited 123-page annual report to the US Congress called “Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China 2019,” had at least 10 maps of the relevant region where Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) is shown to be inside Pakistan. The delineation of the India-Pakistan boundary lies in the realm of political controversy because of the Kashmir issue.

While India’s claim over PoK is ignored, the region is shown to be a part of Pakistan as a result of which the disputed status of the region is glossed over. But at the same time, the disputed status of the Aksai Chin region which Indian claims, but is under the effective control of China, is acknowledged.

In one particular illustration on page 78 of the report, the 1972 Line of Control (LoC) is mentioned on the map but the area India referred to as PoK is shown to be totally under Pakistan. Pakistan calls a large swath of this region ‘Azad Kashmir’. The LoC is the line that divides Kashmir and signifies the military control on either side.

The Pentagon is another name for the United States department of defence which is mandated to submit such a report to the US Congress every year. This year, the report has been prepared at a cost of Rs 1.25 crore. In the past too, India had complained to the US several times whenever official US government maps failed to acknowledge Indian territorial claims. In most cases, the US made the appropriate rectifications.

While omitting any reference to the disputed India-Pakistan border, the report specifically mentioned the bickering over the India-China border. It says: “Tensions remain with India along the shared border over Arunachal Pradesh, which China asserts is part of Tibet and therefore part of China, and over the Aksai Chin region at the western end of the Tibetan Plateau. Chinese and Indian patrols regularly encounter one another along the disputed border, and both sides often accuse one another of border incursions.”

Indian and Chinese troops were locked in a bitter 73-day stand-off in the Doka La near Sikkim before it ended on 28 August, 2017. The Indians objected to Chinese road building in a disputed area. It was followed by another incident at Tuting in Arunachal Pradesh, but that was also resolved.

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Updated Date: May 04, 2019 16:07:47 IST