Q. What is Cartographic Aggression?
Printer-friendly versionSend to friend
Replied by Anushka Saraswat, Young Professional, VIF

Cartography is the study that may be defined as the science or the art of drawing or making and using maps. Since the formation of the modern state, the administrators have used maps to shape the collective perception and belief of the population residing in a geographical area. As an academic discipline, Cartography facilitates understanding political elements in International Relations (IR) studies—territory, boundary, and sovereignty of any nation. Maps are used to understand cartographic information and define modern territoriality and sovereignty with acceptable and neat boundaries.

Cartographic aggression translates to the intended use of cartography for exerting territorial claims, influencing the audience in the disputed area, and gaining public support for territorial expansion. The strategic use of cartography can be understood as a part of psychological warfare operationalised during peace-time. Through visual messages such as maps, cartoons, posters, and postcards, countries define their view of sovereignty and claim over national and international territories. Cartographic Aggression is based on manipulating visuals to prepare the domestic and international audience to perceive the administrator’s claim of a specific territory. This further blurs the line of difference between the legal and factual claim of territory by the aggrieved state, giving the aggressor an edge in the territorial dispute.

India’s struggle against cartographic aggression dates back to independence. Pakistan and China continue to misrepresent their boundaries with India on maps to legitimise their territorial claims. More recently, Nepal has also furthered cartographic aggression against India. In the past, China has issued e-passports depicting Arunachal Pradesh and Aksai Chin as part of Chinese territory. During the state visit of Prime Minister Modi to China, the state-owned Chinese Central Television scrapped the state of Jammu and Kashmir from India’s map. Cartographic Propaganda furthered by China and Pakistan has adversely affected the international perception of India’s legitimate territorial boundaries. India must strengthen its diplomatic reach and ties with social media and global media to counter cartographic aggression.

Date : 09/07/2021
Contact Us