India has lodged a protest over the issuance of Saudi Arabia’s new currency notes that do not feature Jammu and Kashmir as a part of India.
The 20 Riyal bank note was issued by the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority on October 24 to mark the Kingdom’s presidency of the upcoming G20 summit in November. The note, with an image of the world map, has shown Kashmir as separate states and not belonging to any of the rival Asian states of Pakistan and India.
Anger erupted in India because of the map, even though the country has illegally occupied the territory of Kashmir and there is a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) decree recognising it as an international dispute.
External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava is reported to have said that New Delhi has raised “serious concerns” about the banknote both at the Saudi Embassy in India, as well as at India’s embassy in Riyadh.
“We have taken up this gross misrepresentation of India’s external territorial boundaries on an official and legal banknote of Saudi Arabia… we’ve asked the Saudi side to take urgent corrective steps in this regard,” he said.
Additionally, it was found that the distortion was in the Pakistani map as well.
The G20 summit is set to be held from November 21-22 this year in Saudi Arabia and India is a part of it. Although the relations between Saudi Arabia and India are seen as healthy, with Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman referring to India’s Narendra Modi as his “elder brother” during a meeting last year, the new developments might create some hurdles.
Earlier, India put a ban on Qatar-based broadcaster Al Jazeera in 2015 for publishing a map of the country that excluded Kashmir. Also, the country has frequently censored the Economist magazine for showing Kashmir as a disputed region.