A controversy was kicked up today with China’s state-owned television CCTV showing India’s map without Jammu and Kashmir and Arunachal Pradesh while reporting on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit. The wrong map was displayed during a bulletin when Modi was in Xi’an city where he held talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping in his hometown.
China has been laying territorial claim over Arunachal Pradesh and parts of Jammu and Kashmir but India has been strongly resisting it. The unresolved boundary issue has been a sticking point in the relations between the two major Asian countries and both are making efforts to settle it through Special Representatives’ talks. The Special Representatives have held 18 rounds of discussions so far.
China says the border dispute is confined only to 2,000 kms mostly in Arunachal Pradesh whereas India asserts that the dispute covered the western side of the border spanning to about 4,000 kms, especially the Aksai Chin area ceded to China by Pakistan.
Taking strong objection to depiction of the Indian map wrongly, Congress questioned the Prime Minister whether he would raise the issue strongly with the Chinese leadership. “Official Chinese media is showing maps depicting Arunachal Pradesh and Aksai Chin as Chinese territory and the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir out of India’s boundary,” Congress spokesman Randeep Singh Surjewala said and asked, “Will the Prime Minister take up the issue strongly and as a first priority with the Chinese leadership?”
He said the party has several fundamental which need to be addressed by the government “on priority.” Surjewala said that in 2013, the UPA government had announced the formation of the Mountain Strike Corps (MSC), a 90,000 strong Army battalion specifically to prevent intrusion by Chinese troops, at a cost of Rs.64,478 cr.
“However just three weeks ahead of the PM’s visit to China, the Defence Ministry has reduced the sanctioned strength of this battalion by 50 per cent. The official reason given was a severe fund shortage,” he claimed.
The Congress spokesman sought to know whether country’s defence preparedness will be compromised by this decision and whether there is a “shifting of poles” qua strategic decision? Surjewala also brought to the notice of the Prime Minister that China has already committed over USD 46 billion of investment in Pakistan, including in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir. These investments include trains, highways, military equipment and ports.
“Does it not interfere with India’s sovereign claim over the territory and whether it amounts to balancing out India in geo-political arena,” he asked. Noting that just days before the PM’s visit, BJP President Amit Shah had cancelled his scheduled meeting with the Tibetan leader the Dalai Lama, Surjewala asked, “Does it mean re-shifting of goal post on part of the Government?”
He said stapled visas to people from Arunachal Pradesh continue to be a major issue of concern. He recalled that last year, Kiren Rijiju was reportedly told not to attend the banquet hosted by Prime Minister in honour of the visiting Chinese President. China’s plan to build multiple dams on Brahmaputra and its impact on Assam remain an open issue even today, he said adding that the repeated incursion by Chinese army into Indian territory including Ladakh have always remained a source of major flash point between the two countries.