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Pakistan's New Map Includes Earlier Uncontested Indian Territories, Sparking Fresh Conflict

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New Delhi (Sputnik): India included Aksai Chin in Pakistan-administered Kashmir and certain territories bordering Nepal in its political map issued last November. At the time, Beijing termed the Indian decision as a "challenge to China’s sovereignty", while Islamabad dismissed it as "incorrect, legally untenable and void".

Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan issued an all-new political map of the country on Tuesday claiming authority over settled areas of India. In the new map, Islamabad includes Gujarat's Junagarh and Sir Creek on the Indian side of Jammu and Kashmir as their region. Ladakh, which India announced as a separate territory in August 2019, and China's border have been termed as "frontier undefined".

The erstwhile princely state of Junagarh was included in India during the partition of India and Pakistan in 1947. With the inclusion of Junagarh in the new map, Pakistan has questioned the plebiscite of Junagarh, in which 99 percent of the people voted to join the Indian Union in 1947.

Pakistan has been on a diplomatic offensive against India since the Narendra Modi government revoked the temporary special status of Jammu and Kashmir on 5 August 2019. Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan has made several attempts to garner international support over Kashmir at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), where it was only supported by Turkey and China.

Pakistan Army soldier stands guard at a hilltop post during a trip organised by the army, near the Line of Control (LoC), in Charikot Sector, Kashmir July 22, 2020 - Sputnik International
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Earlier, in June, Nepal published a new political map showing the Indian territories of Kalapani, Limpiyadhura, and Lipulekh as being located within its boundaries. India’s External Affairs Ministry termed Nepal’s move to revise the map an “artificial enlargement of claims”.

While defining the administrative boundaries of the newly-created Ladakh as a union territory, the Narendra Modi government last November included China-controlled Aksai Chin as part of its territory. The Chinese Foreign Ministry strongly objected to New Delhi's move on Kashmir.

"India unilaterally changes its domestic laws and administrative divisions challenging China’s sovereignty. This is unlawful and void", Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said.

Aksai Chin was ceded to China by Pakistan in 1963 when both countries signed a boundary agreement to settle their border differences in Pakistan-administered Kashmir and Xinjiang.

At the time, the Pakistani Foreign Ministry said that the new Indian map showing Pakistan-administered Kashmir as part of India was incompatible with the standing of the territory with the United Nations.

"We reiterate that no step by India can change the disputed status of Jammu and Kashmir recognised by the United Nations. Such measures by the government of India cannot prejudice the inalienable right to self-determination of the people of Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir", the statement issued by the Foreign Ministry read.
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