Geospatial Bill is internal legislative matter, entire J&K our integral part: India to Pakistan

New Delhi: Dismissing Pakistan’s “serious concerns” over India’s effort to introduce a Geospatial Information Regulation Bill in the Parliament, the Indian Government on Tuesday said that the bill “is an entirely internal legislative matter, since the whole state of J&K is an integral part of India.”


The statement from Vikas Swarup, India’s Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson, comes after an official release from the Pakistan's foreign affairs ministry, who claimed to have written to United Nations Secretary General and the President of UN Security Council to garner the international watchdog’s attention towards the matter.


“In violation of UNSC resolutions, the official map of India has been depicting the disputed territory of Jammu and Kashmir as part of India which is factually incorrect and legally untenable,” the statement read. “Through the passage of this Bill, the Indian government would penalize the individuals and organizations who depict Jammu and Kashmir as a disputed territory as per the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions.”


In her letter, Maleeha Lodhi, Pakistan’s representative to United Nations called upon the UN body to refrain India from ‘acts that are in violation of international law’ and hold an independent and impartial plebiscite under United Nations’ patronage.


Meanwhile, India has been in constant criticism from Pakistan for taking matters of bilateral concern to the international community.


“The Government firmly rejects Pakistan’s repeated and increasing attempts to impose on the international community matters that India has always been open to address bilaterally with Pakistan,” said Mr. Swarup.


What is Geospatial Information Regulation Bill?


The Geospatial Information Regulation Bill proposes to regulate the acquisition, dissemination, publication and distribution of geospatial information of India which is likely to affect the security, sovereignty and integrity of India. In simple words, any creation or addition of geospatial information will be needing government permission.


Every person and business that uses location as their featured function of operation — applications such as Ola, Uber, Zomato, Oyo, apart from Google — would be covered under the ambit of the Geospatial Bill.


A fine ranging between Rs 1 crore to 100 crores, or a punishment of seven years would be levied to a person involved in the illegal acquisition of geospatial information; whereas, people involved in illegal dissemination, publication or distribution of geospatial information of India could be fined Rs 10 lakhs to 100 crores or an punishment of seven years and the same punishment for using of geospatial information of India outside India.


By: Mayank Mohanti