Myanmar changes St Martin's map partially; colour unchanged

Myanmar changes map partially; colour unchanged

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JS body asks MoFA to remain active against any negative propaganda
Dhaka, Oct 7 – Amid Bangladesh’s strong protest, Myanmar has removed population-related information about St. Martin’s Island from its map but the map still shows the same colour, said a senior official on Sunday.“Myanmar side apologised for their mistake. After Bangladesh’s strong protest, they’ve removed population-related information but it is still showing the same colour (colour of Myanmar territory and St Martin’s Island),” the official told journalists.
Previously, anybody saw St Martin’s population information by clicking on the computer button.
Myanmar Information Management Unit uploaded the map drawing St Martin’s Island and Rakhine State in the same colour in a “deliberate attempt” to show the Island as part of their territory.
Meanwhile, the 20th meeting of Parliamentary Standing Committee on Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) discussed the matter with due importance on Sunday.
The meeting, chaired by Dr Dipu Moni, recommended the Foreign Ministry to remain active to encounter any negative propaganda against Bangladesh in the world.
It also asked the ministry to monitor whether there is any similar attempt by Myanmar anywhere and any website.
Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali, State Minister for Foreign Affairs M Shahriar Alam, M Faruk Khan, MP, Selim Uddin, MP, Begum Mahjabin Khaled also attended the meeting held at the Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban.
The ministry informed the committee that Myanmar envoy in Dhaka was summoned and handed over a strong protest in this regard.
Foreign Secretary M Shahidul Haque and Maritime Affairs Unit Secretary Rear Admiral (retd) M Khurshed Alam were, among others, present.
Earlier, Myanmar came up with false information showing Bangladesh’s St Martin’s Island in their population map, prompting Dhaka to lodge a strong protest.
Khurshed Alam summoned Myanmar Ambassador in Dhaka U Lwin Oo to his office handed over a strongly-worded protest note to him on Saturday.
However, the Myanmar envoy said it was a “mistake” to show the St Martin’s Island as part of his country’s territory in the map.
The 2014 Population and Housing Census – Myanmar’s first national census in 30 years – was undertaken by the Ministry of Immigration and Population with technical support from UNFPA between 30th March and 10th April 2014, according to Myanmar Information Management Unit.
If anyone looks back at the history since 1937, he will find that the Island had never been a part of Myanmar. Dhaka says there is an “ulterior motive” behind drawing and sharing the map of Myanmar on websites.
St Martin’s Island was part of British-India when Myanmar got separated in 1937. This means it was part of India, an official told UNB. “A clear line was drawn in between.”
The official said it was part of Pakistan in 1947 and became part of independent Bangladesh after the Liberation War in 1971.
In 1974, it was clearly stated through a signed agreement that the island is part of Bangladesh.
“Even when Bangladesh won the maritime boundary dispute against Myanmar through International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea in March 2012, it was clearly mentioned that the Island is part of Bangladesh,” the official said.
Myanmar reportedly spread the maps to two global websites showing St Martin’s Island as part of its territory.
Earlier, Myanmar circulated a picture that claimed to show insurgents training. But it was actually a photograph of Bangladeshi freedom fighters during the Liberation War.
The Myanmar military later issued a rare apology acknowledging that two photographs it published in a book on the Rohingya crisis were “published incorrectly”. – UNB

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