NEW DELHI, Nov 21 (agencies): India Monday protested to the US after the State Department website depicted parts of Jammu and Kashmir as Pakistani territory and strongly reaffirmed that the entire border state is an integral part of India.
Rejecting the `incorrect` depiction of India`s borders, New Delhi also asked the US deputy chief of mission here to get the map corrected.
Earlier in the day, foreign secretary Ranjan Mathai said at the Fourth MEA-IISS-IDSA Foreign Policy Dialogue on the theme `Towards Stability in Asia` that the map should be corrected and the issue needed greater attention.
`Yes, maps should be corrected…This is an issue we have to continue to give important attention to,` Mathai said at the event.
Later, asked by reporters about the State Department`s website showing parts of Jammu and Kashmir, which India says has been forcibly occupied since 1947, as Pakistani territory, Mathai said the matter was now being discussed in the external affairs ministry.
External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vishnu Prakash, meanwhile, said the government was aware of `the gross inaccuracies` in the map of India on the State Department website and that the Indian position was reiterated by a senior ministry official to the US deputy chief of mission, who assured India that its concerns would be conveyed to the State Department.
`The government has consistently rejected the incorrect depiction of India`s borders on maps used by the US government. It has used every opportunity to convey to the US side its concern in this regard, and has asked that these maps be corrected,` Prakash said.
India also took the opportunity to `reaffirm that the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India` and that it has consistently conveyed to the international community that maps of India should correctly depict the country`s boundaries.
Mathai also said the ministry was `increasingly issuing demarches to most of the world` for getting India`s map wrong.
`I have been in this business and I have done this a couple of hundred times over the last 35 years. Cartography is not an exact science, particularly when viewed with a political outlook by various countries,` he added.
The State Department website (www.state.gov) carries profiles and maps of all countries with which the US has diplomatic relations bit in India`s case, the map differs from the official Indian map, completely ignoring New Delhi`s claims over the Pakistani-occupied part of Jammu and Kashmir.
Interestingly, the same website carries a pointer to the Indian claim over that portion of Aksai Chin in the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir which is currently occupied by China.
Recently, a Chinese private company distributed a brochure to Indian journalists with a Indian map showing Arunachal Pradesh as part of China, resulting in a spat between Chinese ambassador to India Zhang Yan and an Indian journalist, who objected to it.