Days after a media report pointed out that Aksai Chin is shown as part of China in a Class 12 Political Science textbook of the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT), the educational organisation has clarified its position saying the map which figured on page 56 was not a map of India, but of East and South East Asia. It also said the map on page 56 will be replaced with a map of Southeast Asia in the reprint edition.
According to news portal The Quint, the map in the textbook (Contemporary World Politics) shows Aksai Chin marked in the same yellow as China and also demarcated the area as ‘Indian claim’. The report further said the textbook was first printed in 2007 and subsequently reprinted. The map, which was prepared by the University of Texas, has been used to explain the South East Asian region as an alternative power centre.
Responding to the news report, NCERT said, “The Chapter 4, “Alternative Centres of Power”, focuses on the European Union, ASEAN and China. The map which figures on page 56 is not a map of India, but a map of East and South East Asia. It was prepared by the University of Texas. The source of the map was mentioned at the bottom. The map states that “Boundary representation is not necessarily authoritative.”
Acknowledging that Aksai Chin has been under the unlawful occupation of China, the NCERT said “the border between India and China near the region is marked in dotted lines to indicate the dispute.”
It further said the region is shown as an integral part of India in the map of India and its Neighbours on page 149. Aksai Chin area was illegally occupied by China during the 1962 war.
Interestingly, the Central government had proposed the Geospatial Information Regulation Bill, 2016 last year with an aim to prevent such ‘misrepresentation’ of India’s map. It also proposed a fine ranging from Rs 10 lakh to Rs 100 crore and/or imprisonment for a period of up to seven years for wrongful depiction. However, it was taken down from the Ministry of Home Affairs website after coming under heavy scrutiny. At present, the rules of mapping India are governed by The Criminal Law Amendment Act of 1961.