14 June 2011

Embarrassment for Australian visa department over Indian map mistake

A map of India has been removed from the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) website after complaints from Indian lobby groups that the map excised the entire Kashmir region.

Australian immigration

A map of India has been removed from the DIAC website after complaints from Indian lobby groups.

The map that was featured on the DIAC website, excluded Kashmir, Kashmir's twin state of Jammu and Arunachal Pradesh, a neighbouring Himalayan state which has been the subject of a long-running Indo-Chinese border dispute.   

It has been confirmed by a DIAC spokesperson that the map was removed from the Australian visa website on Sunday, following complaints passed on from the Australian High Commission in New Delhi, which has said "the map was an error and is being removed from the website."

The DIAC spokesperson  also explained that the error was a result of the map being sourced from the UN and mistakenly posted on the website without explanatory footnotes.

A former Indian high commissioner to Australia, Gopalaswami Parthasarathy, has commented that the incident is an example of Australia being "too intrusive and too free with its comments".

Continuing, Mr Parthasarathy said: "Suppose I showed all Aboriginal lands in Australia as belonging to Aborigines. It's basically a question of our sovereign integrity."

The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people lodge their Australian immigration application with the Australian embassy in London. 

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