India conveys concern to Saudi Arabia over depiction of Jammu and Kashmir in bank note
India said on Thursday it has conveyed its “serious concern” to Saudi Arabia over the incorrect depiction of the country’s borders on a new Saudi currency note, which shows almost the whole of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir as a separate entity.
The twenty-riyal bank note was issued by the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority on October 24 to commemorate the country’s presidency of the G20 ahead of the grouping’s virtual summit during November 21-22.
“We have seen the banknote which gives an incorrect depiction of India’s external territorial boundaries,” external affairs ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava told a weekly news briefing.
“We have conveyed our serious concern to Saudi Arabia, both through their ambassador in New Delhi as well as in Riyadh, for this gross misrepresentation of India’s external territorial boundaries on an official and legal banknote of Saudi Arabia and asked the Saudi side to take urgent corrective steps in this regard,” he said.
Srivastava reiterated that the union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, which were created after the special status of the region was scrapped by the government in August last year, are “integral parts of India”.
People familiar with developments said on condition of anonymity that the Indian side is yet to hear from Saudi authorities on how they intend to handle the issue. New Delhi is keen that Riyadh should take some action in the matter before the holding of the G20 Summit, the people said.
The Saudi bank note has also irked Pakistan because it depicts Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) and Gilgit-Baltistan as part of the separate entity. One side of the note features Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz and the G20 logo while the other features a world map showing the members of the G20 in a darker shade.
Islamabad had marked the first anniversary of New Delhi’s changes in Jammu and Kashmir on August 5 by issuing a new political map that showed several Indian territories as part of Pakistan. India had responded by describing the map as a “political absurdity”. It has also started featuring weather forecasts for Gilgit-Baltistan and PoK on state-run media.
The Narendra Modi government has worked to improve India’s ties with Saudi Arabia in areas ranging from counter-terrorism to energy security in recent years. On the other hand, the traditionally strong ties between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are at an all-time low, especially after Riyadh cut back on financial support for Islamabad. Pakistan has also attempted to create a new bloc of Muslim countries, including Turkey and Malaysia, but without much success.
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