Google Maps outside (Right) continue to show both demarcations dividing J&K into areas controlled by India, Pakistan and China

Google Maps shows J&K map without LoC, LAC demarcations in India version. Google Maps outside continue to show both demarcations dividing J&K into areas controlled by India, Pakistan and China

Just days after the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) started the forecasts for Gilgit-Baltistan and Muzaffarabad under Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), Google in India removed the Line of Control (LoC) and Line of Actual Control (LAC) demarcations in Jammu & Kashmir region.

Neither the government nor Google has issued any statement, clarifying the move. However, both the demarcations in J&K continue to be depicted in Google Maps version accessed outside India. The LoC divides J&K into regions controlled by India and the territory which Pakistan claims as its own while LAC separates Kashmir from Aksai Chin, illegally occupied by China since the 1962 war.

India’s state-run weather forecast agency, the IMD, from Thursday, started referring to its meteorological sub-division of Jammu and Kashmir as “Jammu & Kashmir, Ladakh, Gilgit-Baltistan and Muzaffarabad”.

The official website of IMD lists local weather reports and forecasts for towns in the Gilgit Baltistan region. Ghizer, in the far-west area of Ghakuch in PoK is expected to be uploaded soon.

The move greatly irked Pakistan which “rejected” the move and dubbed it “legally void, contrary to reality, and in violation of the relevant United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolutions.”

It remains to be seen how Islamabad will react to the latest move by Google Maps showing the regions as part of Jammu and Kashmir. The IMD website now shows weather updates in towns for Muzaffarabad, Skardu, Nilam, located in Gilgit-Baltistan region. This is the first time the IMD has started predicting forecasts for these areas under the ‘north-west subdivision’.

State-Run Broadcasters DD News, AIR Mimic Move

The first such forecast for Gilgit was uploaded on May 6. New Delhi has always maintained that PoK is an integral part of India and the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly continues to reserve 24 seats for PoK constituencies.

The seats have been retained even post-August 5 when the government revoked the special status of J&K by abrogating Article 370 and bifurcated the state into union territories of Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir.

State-run news broadcasters Doordarshan News and All India Radio also gave temperature and weather reports of Indian towns and cities of Mirpur, Muzaffarabad and Gilgit, in their prime time news bulletins. Last year, New Delhi released maps showing PoK as part of the new Union Territory (UTs) of of Jammu and Kashmir, While Gilgit-Baltistan was shown to be part of Ladakh following the bifurcation.