(Left) Part of the predictive map tweeted by Donald Trump Jr (right). Photo via Twitter and Wikipedia
As the U.S. continues to count its ballots for its presidential race, American businessman Donald Trump Jr, who is also the eldest child of the current U.S. President Donald Trump, tweeted an image of a red and blue map on Nov. 3, that confused almost everyone on the platform.
The map is that of the world, with almost all countries coloured red, associated with Trump’s Republican party. A small number of countries were painted blue, which stands for the Democrats, of which former vice president Joe Biden is this year’s presidential candidate. The counting of ballots is still ongoing in the United States as of writing, which would render Trump Jr’s tweet premature, but the map is also wildly inaccurate—geographically and politically.
India is rife with border tensions with its neighbours. In recent months, the country’s borders have been violent and politically agitated, especially with China, Pakistan and Nepal.
In fact, Trump Jr’s U.S. elections prediction world map, which he claimed to have made on his own, is also missing the Union Territory of Kashmir, which was annexed by the Indian government last year in a controversial move.
Incidentally, the map was reportedly sourced from an alt-right shitpost account. This is unsurprising considering Trump Jr’s long history of posting misinformation on social media, including QAnon theories. In July, Twitter temporarily suspended his account for spreading COVID-19 misinformation.
His latest tweet naturally invited a lot of response from critics.
Apart from the inaccurate borders, people have also pointed out the irony of the map that shows the whole of India supporting Biden. Ever since Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi took office in 2014, he’s shared more than affable relations with Trump. The Modi-Trump bromance was captured in an event called “Howdy, Modi!” in Houston, Texas, last year, which was touted the largest-ever gathering with a foreign political leader in the U.S.
It was followed by “Namaste Trump” early this year, where, despite a deadly communal riot in New Delhi, Modi hosted Trump to showcase friendly relations between the two countries. The Indian-American support from Trump is also well documented, which, research says, doesn’t change despite Indian-origin Kamala Harris as the current vice presidential candidate for the Democrats.
Happymon Jacob, associate professor of disarmament and diplomacy at New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University, told VICE News that the current debate around the “altered, non-serious map” by foreign politicians “for their own domestic political purposes”, should just be ignored.
“To begin with, one is not even sure what Trump Jr was trying to convey,” said Jacob.
Regardless, this is not the first time when a distorted version of the Indian map roused anger and ridicule. Over the last few months, a boundary dispute started when Nepal released a new political map that incorporated some of the disputed territories with India within its borders.
In August, Pakistan Prime Minister announced a new political map of Pakistan which claimed the entire region of Jammu and Kashmir. India, too, published a controversial political map, in which it changed the internal status of Kashmir and disputed territory with Nepal.
China flared up the border dispute when it updated its digital map to include the northeastern Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh. In September, China reiterated its position on Arunachal Pradesh when the country’s People’s Liberation Army “abducted” four Arunachalis who had transgressed into China’s border.
Early this year, Google Maps launched a controversial feature that shows disputed borders according to what country you search from. In India, publishing an inaccurate Indian map is punishable by law, with imprisonment or a fine, or even both. The measure was taken up in the light of inaccurate maps doing the rounds on social networking sites.
Within India, the northeastern state of Nagaland, which is also missing in Trump Jr’s map, has been witnessing the struggle for independence from India. Last month, the social media handle of Indian shopping website Flipkart accidentally claimed that Nagaland is “outside India”, sparking anger among the Nagas.
Jacob added that the debate in India around Trump Jr’s map is due to the “cartographic anxiety that exists in the country”. “Especially vis-à-vis Kashmir (which Trump Jr’s map showed as part of Pakistan) and the Northeast,” he said. “This anxiety has grown over the years due to cartographic pressure from Pakistan, China and Nepal.”
As of publication time, Biden leads with 248 electoral votes to Trump’s 214, according to the Associated Press. 270 electoral votes are needed to win the election.
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Via Vice News