(TibetanReview.net, Aug30’23) – India has expressed outrage, dismissed as “absurd”, and lodged a “strong protest” over China’s cartographic invasion of its territory on the basis of its illegal annexation of Tibet more than half a century ago following the release on Aug 28 of its official “standard map”. The map, released by the country’s Ministry of Natural Resources, shows the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh and Chinese occupied Ladakh area of Aksai Chin plateau as its official territory.
The map also includes Taiwan and the South China Sea as Chinese territory.
India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) announced Oct 29 evening that it had contacted its Chinese counterpart earlier in the day to express its objections.
“We have today lodged a strong protest through diplomatic channels with the Chinese side on the so-called 2023 ‘standard map’ of China that lays claim to India’s territory,” MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi has said.
India’s foreign minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar also dismissed China’s territorial claims.
“We reject these claims as they have no basis. Such steps by the Chinese side only complicate the resolution of the boundary question,” he said.
“Making absurd claims on India’s territory does not make it China’s territory,” Jaishankar told the news channel NDTV.
The release of the map also came ahead of the multinational G20 or Group of 20 nations’ summit, which is being hosted by India in New Delhi on Sep 9 and 10 and is scheduled to be attended by Chinese President Xi Jinping and other top global leaders.
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The border dispute between India and China, which has today assumed alarming proportions, is entirely a result of China invasion and illegal annexation in the 1950s of Tibet, a country with no worthwhile military to speak of and which had been a historical buffer state between the two Asian giants.
The dispute between the two countries escalated into a full-fledged war in 1962 when, according to India, China occupied 38,000 square kilometres of Aksai Chin. India still claims the China-occupied region as part of its Ladakh territory.
But China insists that Aksai Chin was long part of the ancient Chinese empire on the false narrative of Tibet being part of that empire.
China claims that India occupies some 90,000 square kilometres of its territory in the latter’s northeast, including Arunachal Pradesh, which it insists is southern Tibet.
New Delhi, which controls Arunachal Pradesh, insists it has been part of India at least since the 1914 Shimla convention among Tibet, British ruled India and the Republic of China under Kuomintang rule.
The official “standard map” was released just days after the two nations agreed to work to ease tensions at their disputed border, noted Reuters Aug 30.
It also came days after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to China’s President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the BRICS summit in Johannesburg last week and highlighted concerns about the stand-off on their disputed Himalayan frontier, noted the scmp.com Aug 30.