The Government of India has conveyed to China its “firm protest” over the publication by the Chinese authorities of an official map that includes territories under Indian control in the state of Arunachal Pradesh and disputed areas, amid the rise in tensions. bilateral discussions on this issue in recent years.
“We have presented a firm protest to China through diplomatic channels regarding the so-called ‘standard map’ for 2023, which claims territories of India,” said Indian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi.
“We reject these claims, which are unfounded. These steps by China only complicate the resolution of the border issue,” he highlighted in a brief statement published by the Ministry through its website.
Subsequently, Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar has accused Beijing of making “absurd claims.” “China has presented a map with territories that are not its own. It is an old custom,” he said in statements given to the Indian television channel NDTV.
“Presenting a map with parts of India does not change anything. Our Government is very clear about what our territory is. Making absurd claims does not make other people’s territories yours,” Jaishankar concluded.
Wu Wenzhong, in charge of planning at the Ministry of Natural Resources, indicated on Monday that the map will play an important role in structuring the country’s development and opted to “accelerate the application of geographic information data, such as digital maps, navigation and positioning, for the development of the digital economy”, as reported by the newspaper ‘China Daily’.
The New Delhi protest was presented days after the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, and the Chinese President, Xi Jinping, held a meeting on the sidelines of the BRICS summit – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa– in South Africa, after which Indian official sources indicated that both countries had agreed to “intensify their efforts” to reduce border tensions.
China and India have held numerous rounds of dialogue in an attempt to unblock the crisis since the Ladakh area was the scene of a confrontation in June 2020 between Indian and Chinese militaries, without using weapons, in what was the worst confrontation between the two neighbors in 45 years, which resulted in the death of at least 20 Indian soldiers and four Chinese soldiers.
India and China fought a brief war over their border in 1962. India disputes China’s control over 38,000 square kilometers of land in Aksai Chin, which it maintains is part of Ladakh. Beijing in turn claims 90,000 square kilometers of territory in Arunachal Pradesh, which it considers part of southern Tibet.