India on Tuesday walked out of a virtual meeting of national security advisers of member-states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) after the Pakistani representative projected a map that inaccurately depicted the borders of the two countries.
“At the meeting of the national security advisers (NSAs) of member-states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), hosted by the chair of the SCO (Russia), the Pakistani NSA deliberately projected a fictitious map that Pakistan has recently been propagating,” said external affairs ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava.“This was in blatant disregard to the advisory by the host against it and in violation of the norms of the meeting. After consultation with the host, the Indian side left the meeting in protest at that juncture,” he said.
Srivastava added, “As was to be expected, Pakistan then went on to present a misleading view of this meeting.”
People familiar with developments said on condition of anonymity that Pakistan’s use of a “fictitious map” as a backdrop for its representative, which depicted sovereign Indian territories as parts of Pakistan, was a blatant violation of the SCO charter and went against all established norms of the grouping for safeguarding the sovereignty and territorial integrity of member-states.
“India issued its strong objection to the use of this illegal map by Pakistan. The Russian side, as the chair, tried very hard to persuade Pakistan not to do so,” said one of the people cited above.
Russian NSA Nikolai Patrushev conveyed to the Indian side that he was personally very grateful to his Indian counterpart Ajit Doval for attending the SCO meeting, the people said.
“Russia doesn’t support what Pakistan has done and hopes Pakistan’s provocative act won’t affect India’s participation in SCO and definitely not cast any shadow on Patrushev’s warm personal relationship with the Indian NSA, for whom he has the highest regard,” the person added.Patrushev also said he hoped to see Doval at forthcoming events, according to the people.
Pakistan issued a new map on August 4 that laid claim to India’s union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh and parts of Gujarat state on the eve of the first anniversary of the scrapping of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status.
India had reacted to the move by describing it as an “exercise in political absurdity” with no legal validity.
The political map was released by Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan during a meeting in Islamabad that was attended by his cabinet and senior officials, including his special assistant on national security affairs, Moeed Yusuf. Khan had said the map was the first step towards a political struggle to achieve the right of self-determination for Kashmiris.
Pakistan currently doesn’t have a formally appointed NSA and Yusuf represents the country at meetings such as the one held on Tuesday.
Before the external affairs ministry spokesperson’s statement, Yusuf tweeted: “Bizarrely, my Indian counterpart chose to walk out of Pakistan and Russia’s speech. Left a bad taste at a forum whose whole spirit is cooperation.”
Yusuf also tweeted he had “highlighted that unilateral & illegal actions in an internationally recognised disputed territory of [Jammu and Kashmir] is a threat to regional peace & prosperity”.
SCO currently comprises eight member-states. China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan are the other members, alongside India, Pakistan and Russia.