INDIA: India protests Google Kashmir map

Map shows disputed Pakistani-administered Kashmir as part of Pakistani territory; maps that do not consider Jammu & Kashmir as an integral part of India are banned by Indian government

Times of India
Wednesday, November 30, 2005

New Delhi --- India has protested to Google Inc. -- the multi-billion dollar internet company that owns the world's most used search engine -- against the depiction of the part of Kashmir which New Delhi claims as its own as part of Pakistan.

"A letter has been sent to the chairman of the executive committee and chief executive officer of Google Inc. drawing attention to the wrong depiction of India's boundaries," Minister of State for External Affairs Rao Inderjit Singh told the Lok Sabha on Wednesday.

"The Indian embassy in Washington has also been instructed to take up the matter with Google Inc.," he added.

The political map of the subcontinent in Google Earth shows the region that India calls Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, or PoK, and Pakistan calls it 'Azad (free) Kashmir', as being a part of Pakistani territory.

No printed matter in India can be distributed if it contains a map of the country that does not conform to the official one that shows Jammu and Kashmir as an integral part of India.

Google maps grabbed headlines here recently when President APJ Abdul Kalam warned that the easy online availability of detailed maps of countries posed a threat to national security.

Some developing countries, which are already in danger of terrorist attacks, have been singularly chosen for the display of high-resolutions maps, Kalam had said.

India and Pakistan have fought two wars over their competing claims to Jammu and Kashmir -- New Delhi regards it as an integral part of India and came close to fighting a third one five years ago.