India on Thursday lodged a strong protest with Saudi Arabia over the issuance of a banknote with an "incorrect depiction" of this country's "external territorial boundaries".
The banknote issued by the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority on October 24 on the occasion of Saudi Arabia taking over the presidency of the G20, had apparently excluded Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh from the Indian map.
"We have conveyed our serious concern to Saudi Arabia, both through their Ambassador in New Delhi as well as in Riyadh, for this gross misrepresentation of India's external territorial boundaries on an official and legal banknote of Saudi Arabia," Indian External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava told the media at the weekly briefing.
"We have asked the Saudi side for taking urgent corrective steps in this regard. I would like to further reiterate that the entire Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh are integral parts of India," he added.
In recent years, India's ruling BJP government has tried to bolster ties with Saudi Arabia in a move perceived to pressurise neighbouring Pakistan. Last year, in a special gesture, Prime Minister Narendra Modi personally received Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the Delhi airport, termed as "a new chapter in bilateral relations" by the Foreign Ministry.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had visited India at a time when hostilities between Delhi and Islamabad flared following a suicide bombing in Indian-controlled Kashmir that claimed the lives of at least 40 paramilitary troopers.
India imports nearly 83% of the oil it consumes, making it one of the biggest importers of oil in the world. And most of its crude oil and cooking gas comes from Saudi Arabia and Iraq.