Cartographic aggression

Cartographic aggression is the term by which the victim country describes any act, in particular the publication of maps or other material by a neighbouring country, which purports to show part of what it perceives as its own territory as belonging to the other country. In rare cases cartographic aggression may be committed by a third country in order to gain some diplomatic advantage.The term is not new, and well accepted even by professional geographers. [A Case of" "Cartographic Aggression by B. K. Nijm, The Professional Geographer, Vol.33, Issue 2, p.251, May 1981] Recent and well-documented cases of cartographic aggression are:

India, China

Involving Aksai Chin, the Bara Hoti Pass area in Uttar Pradesh, Sikkim and South Tibet (Arunachal Pradesh) [ [,9171,869047,00.html TIME magazine article 1959] ] [ [ Open Society Archives,15 March 1961, page ii ] ]

The following note does not meet Wikipedia standard and presents an argument with a personal overtone

Note : "The awareness of Chinese occupation of the Aksai Chin area came to light, not through a map, but through an illustrated article in a Chinese magazine about the Xinjiang-Tibet road being built through the area. The Indian claim to the Aksai Chin area was based on the 'aggressive' Johnson-Ardagh alignment of dubious validity. However, the Indian claim to Arunachal was based on ground possession and the tendentious pro-Chinese arguments of Alastair Lamb and others about this area do not stand up to scrutiny. Arunachal is still a hot potato, as the recent refusal of a Chinese visa to a Arunachali bureaucrat on the plea that he was a Chinese national clearly shows. However, the Chinese have apparently reconciled themselves at last to accepting Sikkim as an integral part of India for the sake of opening a trade link through Nathu La."

China against Nepal

[,9171,869138-2,00.html TIME magazine article 1959 ] Note:"The outstanding issues were later settled."

USA against India

A rare case of 'third party' cartographic aggression, this was over the Siachen area. From about 1967, US maps started showing an international border starting from NJ9842 and running more or less directly to the Karakoram Pass on the India-China border. This was presumably done to benefit US ally Pakistan, who thus 'acquired' the entire Siachen Glacier region at the stroke of a cartographer's pen! [ [ 2003 article in Outside magazine ] ]

Pakistan against India

Pakistan followed the American lead (see above) in its own maps.

Iraq against Kuwait

Maps were issued around 1990 showing Kuwait as a province of Iraq. [ [ San Francisco Chronicle book review 2005] ]


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