Google Maps is perhaps the most widely used web mapping service, which explains why a faux pas on their part is not something to be taken lightly.
Google updated its mapping service last month to use new high- resolution imagery. However, it made errors when it came to distinguishing borders between countries. We saw outrage from Palestinians last week, when the tech giant allegedly erased Palestine from its maps and designated all its territory as Israel.
Now, Google Maps has made another blunder by showing major parts of Pakistan as Indian territory. The Indian version of the service shows Azad Kashmir as part of Indian-occupied Kashmir. Furthermore, it places parts of China’s Hotan County under Indian control.
This version of the map is available when you access the mapping service through its Indian domain ‘co.in’. However, in the international version of Google Maps (the one which Pakistanis get), the whole area is shown in dotted lines.
The map is also erroneous as it situates Islamabad, Pakistan’s capital, close to the border and shows the K-2 and Nanga Parbat peaks as being located in India. Furthermore, the mapping service is also incorrect when it comes to the international version which we get to use. Google Maps shows Azad Kashmir as disputed territory demarcated with dotted lines.
Whether it’s a mistake on part of Google or a business decision to please India we will know for sure once Google releases an official statement. Since Google does not have a registered office in Pakistan, they are not obligated to show Pakistani controlled Kashmir as part of Pakistan. The Indian version of the Google Maps can be seen here.
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