New Chinese map adds to India’s embarrassment ahead of G20 summit

New maps released by China show Arunachal Pradesh and Aksai Chin as part of its territory. Coming ahead of the G20 summit and days after the BRICS summit, it has set tongues wagging

2023 edition of Chinese map (Photo: IANS)
2023 edition of Chinese map (Photo: IANS)

NH Political Bureau

There are no changes in the map that China released on Monday from the previous year. The 2023 map once again shows Aksai Chin, which home minister Amit Shah had famously announced would be wrested back from China, and Arunachal Pradesh as Chinese territory.

China has stuck to its old position. It protests every time the Dalai Lama visits Arunachal Pradesh. It had also protested when Arunachal Pradesh hosted a meeting related to the G20 summit earlier this year. Thus, there are no surprises there.

But the new map, released days before the G20 summit in New Delhi on September 9-10, 2023, which Xi Jin Ping is expected to attend, and days after the BRICS summit in South Africa, where China and Russia dominated the show, has come at an embarrassing time for the Narendra Modi government.

At the BRICS summit last week, China claimed that Xi Jin Ping had held talks with the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the latter’s request. In a readout on the conversation between the two leaders, the Chinese foreign ministry said President Xi Jinping conveyed to PM Modi that both sides should "bear in mind" the "overall interests" of the ties and "properly" handle the border issue.

Hours after Beijing's statement on Modi-Xi conversation claimed it was held at the Indian side's request, Indian sources said there was a "pending request" from the Chinese side for a bilateral meeting, suggesting that New Delhi has not heeded to it. "The two leaders, however, had an informal conversation in the leaders' lounge during the BRICS summit," one of the sources added.

A video clip doing the rounds on social media, which shows Xi Jin Ping and other BRICS leaders seated, while the Indian PM is seen standing, has also embarrassed the Indians.

The mural-map in the new parliament building that showed the country’s borders stretching from Pakistan in the west to Bangladesh in the east, gobbling up Nepal and Bhutan, had caused a furore in the neighbourhood. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi, had posted a photo of the map on X and said, “The resolve is clear—Akhand Bharat.” In a damage control exercise, the ministry of External Affairs said the mural did not depict Akhand Bharat but “the spread of the Ashokan empire.” But the damage was done and reinforced China’s claims about India’s ‘expansionist’ designs.

The latest map follows Beijing announcing that it would “standardise” the names of 11 places in Arunachal Pradesh, including a town close to the Arunachal Pradesh capital of Itanagar.

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