In a very “controversial” move and in a major setback to Indian diplomacy, the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) on Thursday depicted Jammu and Kashmir as a “separate country”.
In its page on non-governmental organisations (NGOs)—more precisely, in the ‘Advanced search for Civil Society Organization’ section—Jammu and Kashmir has been inserted in the ‘Country / Geographical area’ section.
The page is about the listing of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that has consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).
It wasn’t clear whether the government of India was aware of this incident.
Interestingly, apart from Jammu and Kashmir, ‘Occupied Syrian Golan’ has also been listed as a separate country/geographical area in the database.
The Observer States have the right to speak at General Assembly meetings, vote on procedural matters, serve as signatories on working papers, and sign resolutions, but not to sponsor resolutions or vote on resolutions of substantive matters. “The other Observers to the UN are inter-governmental organisations of the member States of the UN like European Union, SAARC etc,” the report maintained.
It may be noted that the government of India had come up with The Geospatial Information Regulation Bill 2016 to crackdown on maps that showed Jammu and Kashmir and Arunachal Pradesh as part of Pakistan and China respectively, amid a series of controversies involving Twitter, Facebook and Google.
The draft of the Bill said that any wrong depiction of Indian map could land the violators in jail with a maximum term of seven years and a fine up to ?100 crore.