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Drawing India's Borders Incorrectly Could Cost Millions

  • VOA News

A map showing the disputed region of Kashmir and Jammu.

A map showing the disputed region of Kashmir and Jammu.

Incorrectly depicting India's borders on a map could land violators in jail for 7 years and cost them fines of up to $15 million, if a proposed bill becomes law.

Citizens and stakeholders will have 30 days to comment on the proposed bill, released to the public Wednesday.

"No person shall depict, disseminate, publish or distribute any wrong or false topographic information of India including international boundaries through internet platforms or online services or in any electronic or physical form," the draft Geospatial Information Regulation Bill 2016 stated. "Whoever acquired any geospatial information of India in contravention of the law shall be punished with a fine ranging from Rs 1 crore ($150,000) to Rs 100 crore ($15 million) and or imprisonment for a period up to seven years."

The ruling BJP in India has been critical of Western depictions of the country, which often show parts of neighboring Jammu, Kashmir, and Arunachal Pradesh as parts of Pakistan and China.

In April of 2015, all Al Jazeera programming was taken off Indian airwaves for five days after the network showed parts of Kashmir in Pakistan. New Delhi insisted that the entire territory be depicted as part of India.

Social media sites and Wikipedia have also been condemned by New Delhi as incorrectly portraying their borders.

The draft bill additionally states that acquiring geospatial (or spatial) information (imagery or data) through space or aerial platforms would require approval from the Indian government, potentially making it mandatory for online platforms such as Google maps and Google earth to acquire a license before operating in India.

The state of Jammu and Kashmir has been claimed by both India and Pakistan since the two countries' partition in 1947. An eastern region of the state that borders Tibet has been controlled by China since 1962.

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