In the backdrop of the US State Department website displaying a map with the northwestern part of Jammu and Kashmir as Pakistani territory, Indian foreign secretary Ranjan Mathai Monday said such maps need to be corrected and the issue needs greater attention.
"Yes, maps should be corrected...This is an issue we have to continue to give important attention to," Mathai said while delivering the Fourth MEA-IISS-IDSA Foreign Policy Dialogue on the theme "Towards Stability in Asia" in New Delhi.
Later, asked by reporters about the US 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.
"It is being discussed right now within the ministry. I can respond to that question only after getting back to the ministry," he said.
The foreign secretary 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 that part of Jammu and Kashmir state.
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.