Context: India responded strongly after Pakistan displayed the newly-unveiled political map of the country during the meeting of the National Security Advisers of the member countries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).
- National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, who was participating in the virtual interaction, left the meeting mid-way after Pakistan displayed the map prominently behind its delegation.
- Pakistan on August 4 announced a new political map which asserts its claims on Jammu and Kashmir, Siachen and Sir Creek, and lays a new claim to Junagadh and Manavadar.
- The map lays claim to all of Jammu and Kashmir, thus far shown as disputed territory, draws a line demarcating Gilgit-Baltistan separately from the part of Kashmir under its control (Pakistan occupied Kashmir), and renames Jammu and Kashmir as “Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir”.
- The new map leaves the claim line with Ladakh unclear.
- Pakistan’s claim to all of Jammu and Kashmir, but not Ladakh, goes against its own commitment to adjudicate the future of all six parts of the erstwhile royal state of Jammu-Kashmir (Jammu, Kashmir, Ladakh, Gilgit-Baltistan, PoK and Aksai Chin) with India.
The case of Junagadh
- The ruler of Junagadh was persuaded to join Pakistan by his Dewan (prime minister).
- The state was small and nearly completely surrounded by Indian territory, but it could have theoretically retained contact with Pakistan through the sea and air.
- Moreover, while its ruler and Dewan were Muslims, the majority of the population in the area was Hindu.
- What made the situation more complex were the decisions of Junagadh’s three vassal states.
- While the ruler of Bantva-Manavadar (Manavadar, for short) confirmed his accession to Pakistan, the overlords of the two other principalities (Mangrol and Babariawad), declared that they would became part of India, openly challenging their sovereign’s choice.
- The vassals’ decisions in 1947 probably explain why the current Pakistani government’s recently unveiled map marks the territory as “Junagadh & Manavadar.”
- In November 1947 Indian soldiers they entered Junagadh.
- The Nawab and the Dewan fled to Pakistan, the principality’s little force could not hope to put up resistance against the Indian army, and Pakistan did not attempt to send its forces in support of the tiny state, instantly leaving New Delhi in full control.
- In February 1948, a referendum was held in Junagadh (including all of its vassal states) and as per the will of the majority of the voters the territory acceded to India. For its part, Pakistan never accepted the results of the Junagadh referendum.
What is Sir Creek?
- Sir Creek is a 96-km strip of water disputed between India and Pakistan in the Rann of Kutch marshlands.
- Originally named Ban Ganga, Sir Creek is named after a British representative.
- The Creek opens up in the Arabian Sea and roughly divides the Kutch region of Gujarat from the Sindh Province of Pakistan.
What's the dispute?
- The dispute lies in the interpretation of the maritime boundary line between Kutch and Sindh.
- Pakistan claims the entire creek as per paragraphs 9 and 10 of the Bombay Government Resolution of 1914 signed between then the Government of Sindh and Rao Maharaj of Kutch.
- The resolution, which demarcated the boundaries between the two territories, included the creek as part of Sindh, thus setting the boundary as the eastern flank of the creek popularly known as Green Line.
- But India claims that the boundary lies mid-channel as depicted in another map drawn in 1925, and implemented by the installation of mid-channel pillars back in 1924.
What's the importance of Sir Creek?
- Apart from strategic location, Sir Creek's core importance is fishing resources. Sir Creek is considered to be among the largest fishing grounds in Asia.
- Another vital reason is the possible presence of great oil and gas concentration under the sea, which are currently unexploited thanks to the impending deadlock on the issue.
UNCLOS supports India's stand
- If Thalweg principle is to be upheld, Pakistan would lose a considerable portion of the territory that was historically part of the province of Sindh.
- Under international law, a thalweg is the middle of the primary navigable channel of a waterway that defines the boundary line between states.
- Acceding to India's stance would mean shifting of the land/sea terminus point several kilometres to the detriment of Pakistan, leading in turn to a loss of several thousand square kilometres of its Exclusive Economic Zone under the United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea UNCLOS).