As the second edition of Belt and Road Initiative Summit got underway in Beijing this Thursday,
ET had reported on Friday that China displayed a map with BRI routes that curiously showed entire Jammu & Kashmir and Arunachal Pradesh as part of India.
The map also surprisingly portrayed India as part of BRI even when India boycotted the summit for the second time. The map was displayed by China’s ministry of commerce on the occasion of three-day BRI Summit. At the Summit the Chinese President made attempts to address concerns expressed by India over BRI.
Inclusion of entire J&K and Arunachal Pradesh as part of India is not only a surprise but also self-contradictory, given the fact that China recently destroyed thousands of maps which showed Arunachal as part of India. China regularly protests visits by top Indian leadership to Arunachal Pradesh, described as “Southern Tibet” in Chinese government parlance.
Previous maps of J&K issued by China showed part of the state under Pakistan, what is Pak Occupied Kashmir. Sources here indicated that such faux pas, if at all, is a rare occurrence in China’s official publications and websites. Experts on Sino-Indian affairs are trying to ascertain if it is a deliberate tactical move by China to placate India.
Last November, China’s state-run media (CGTN television) excluded Pak occupied Kashmir (PoK) from the map of Pakistan. A map of Pakistan excluding PoK was displayed by China’s state-run television while reporting terror attack on Chinese consulate in Karachi.
Excluding PoK from the Pakistan map can also have implications for China-Pakistan-Economic-Corridor (CPEC). India has strong reservations on CPEC as it is passing through PoK that violates India’s sovereignty. CPEC is the most important connectivity link under China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
China has invested heavily in infrastructure projects in PoK even before BRI was launched, much to India’s discomfiture. India had served several protest letters, both in Beijing as well as Islamabad, about Chinese funded projects in PoK. China had reportedly posted troops in PoK, a move that was sharply criticised by India.
Besides Chinese investments in PoK, Sino-Indian ties was adversely impacted by China offering stapled visas to residents to Jammu and Kashmir a few years back and hosting Hurriyat leaders. Beijing has been emphasising of late that India and Pakistan should address the Kashmir issue bilaterally.