The BBC – which continues to work overtime to please India-haters globally by defaming the country and inaccurately depicting its geographical boundaries on more instances than one can recount, Tuesday apologised for using an inaccurate map of India, which had the boundaries of Jammu and Kashmir entirely missing – subtly indicating on its part that these were not sovereign Indian territories. The apology, which is a first by rough estimations, follows a formal complaint filed by Labour Party MP Virendra Sharma against BBC for the inaccurate depiction of India’s geographical boundaries.
“From London, we mistakenly published a map of India online which contained inaccuracies and is not the standard map used by BBC News. It has now been corrected. We apologise for any offence caused,” a BBC spokesperson said. The channel displayed an incomplete map of India with the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir missing. This incident occurred during a video broadcast about President-elect Joe Biden on BBC World Service titled ‘US Election 2020: What do countries around the world want from Joe Biden’.
The Labour Party MP, who represents the heavily Indian populated of Ealing-Southall in West London, also heads the chair of the Indo-British All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG). In his letter, while calling for immediate rectification by BBC, Virendra Sharma said, “This map shows an incomplete India, it does not highlight Jammu and Kashmir which is recognised as a core and integral part of India. To represent Jammu and Kashmir as anything less than Indian is deeply insulting to millions of Indians living here in the UK and in India.”
The letter also added, “The BBC World Service is a fantastic resource, an amazing part of our soft-power and a real force for good around the world, this record is under threat if the World Service is perceived as partisan and ‘anti-India’ as is currently being asserted online. As a member of the International Development Select Committee, I have seen the great work the World Service can do, I do not want to see that put at risk.”
The apology by BBC comes as a move which will be seen as a precedent not just for the UK-based media organisation, but also all other international media outlets who on umpteen instances continue to take the liberty of themselves deciding the best geographical representation of India’s boundaries – especially when it comes to the union territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh.