Mar 11, 2022

Know your map: Regulating the official boundary of India

Pakistan’s new political map has been getting attention because it includes the entire Indian territory of Jammu and Kashmir and parts of Gujarat, including Junagarh. The map was launched earlier this week by Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan. The Indian Ministry of External affairs has said that the map makes unjustified claims on Indian territory, which can have no legal validity or international credibility.

Mapping authority in India

The Survey of India (SOI) is India’s National Mapping Agency. It has the responsibility to ensure that the country’s territory is explored and mapped properly.

In 2005, the government approved the National Map Policy (NMP). According to the Policy, the Survey of India has the duty to produce, maintain and circulate data about the topography of India. The SOI has to ensure that users can access this data without threatening the security of the country. So, it produces 2 series of maps: Defence Series maps for defence and security purposes; and Open Series maps that can be accessed by the general public after getting clearance from the Ministry of Defence.

Punishment for inaccurate mapping

The SOI publishes the Indian map with the official boundary of India. It also issues various guidelines including instructions to the government and private publishers for publishing maps of India.

If you publish a map of India which is different from the maps of India published by the SOI, you can be punished with imprisonment of up to six months and/or fined.