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Doval quits SCO meet as Pak map includes parts of India
India on Tuesday walked out of a virtual meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) after a map showing its territory as part of Pakistan was put on display behind the representative of the neighbouring country.
India’s National Security Advisor, Ajit Doval, left the video conference with his counterparts from the seven other SCO nations, after lodging protest over display of the map behind Moeed Yusuf, the representative of Pakistan. The map was issued by Imran Khan’s Government in Islamabad early last month, incorporating in Pakistan, not only India’s two Union Territories – Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) and Ladakh, but also Junagadh in its western state of Gujarat.
Yusuf, the Special Advisor on National Security to the Prime Minister of Pakistan, had the map as a background display behind him when he joined the video conference.
Doval conveyed India’s “strong objection” to the use of the map by Pakistan.
Islamabad’s use of a fictitious map as a backdrop for its representative depicting India’s sovereign territory as part of Pakistan was “in blatant disregard to the advisory by the host against it and in violation of the norms of the meeting”, Anurag Srivastava, the spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, said.
He said that Doval had left the meeting after consultation with the host of the meeting – Nikolai Patrushev, the secretary of the National Security Council of Russia.
India and Pakistan were in June 2017 admitted to the SCO, which earlier had six members – Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
Russia is currently holding the chair of the SCO.
Pakistan’s use of the map showing territory of India during the meeting of the SCO was “a blatant violation” of the charter of the eight-nation bloc and went “against its all established norms of safeguarding the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the member states”, a government source in New Delhi said.
Patrushev, who was chairing the meeting, tried very hard to persuade the representative of the Pakistan Government to refrain from using the controversial map as a background display during the meeting.
Islamabad, however, claimed that the SCO had rejected the objection raised by New Delhi and Yusuf continued to participate in the virtual meeting with the map on the background even after the exit of Doval.
The government sources in New Delhi said that Patrushev had conveyed to Doval that he was “personally very grateful” to the National Security Advisor of India for attending the SCO meet. Russia did not support Pakistan’s provocative act against India, sources quoted Patrushev conveying to Doval. He also expressed his hope that it would not affect New Delhi’s participation in the future SCO meetings and not cast any shadow on his “warm personal relationship” with Doval.
Khan, himself, had unveiled the new map of Pakistan on August 4 – just on the eve of the first anniversary of India’s August 5, 2019 move to strip its then state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) of its special status and reorganise it into two Union Territories. New Delhi had called Islamabad’s move to publish the new map of Pakistan as “ridiculous” and “an exercise of political absurdity”.
Pakistan had published its new map amid its “iron brother” China’s aggressive moves to unilaterally alter the status quo along the communist country’s disputed boundary with India in eastern Ladakh. China earlier prodded Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli’s government in Kathmandu to publish a new map of Nepal, incorporating in its territory nearly 400 sq kms of area of India.