The India Meteorological Department's regional weather centre has started including areas in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir in its weather forecasts, a departure from its earlier format, officials said on Thursday.
The weather department has started including Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh's Northern Areas (Gilgit-Baltistan) and Muzaffarabad, which are under Pakistan's illegal occupation, under the Jammu and Kashmir meteorological sub-division since May 5, said Kuldeep Srivastava, the head of the Regional Meteorological Department that gives forecast for the northwest meteorological division of the IMD.
IMD Director General M Mohapatra said they have been mentioning areas under PoK under its daily weather bulletin ever since the bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir in the two union territories in August last year.
However, officials said it's now being mentioned explicitly under the Jammu and Kashmir subdivision.
These areas in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir have now found a place in the overall forecast of India's northwest division.
The northwest division consists of nine sub-divisions - Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Delhi-Chandigarh-Haryana, Punjab, east Uttar Pradesh, west Uttar Pradesh, east Rajasthan and west Rajasthan.
The development assumes significance as New Delhi has always maintained the position that all of Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir, including Northern Areas (Gilgit-Baltistan) in an integral and inseparable part of India.
The inclusion of Muzaffarabad and Northern Areas (Gilgit-Baltistan) in the forecast comes amid news that Pakistan's Supreme Court, which has no jurisdiction, is illegally allowing elections in Northern Areas (Gilgit-Baltistan) this week. India has strongly reacted to the development.
Sources added that internally, it was pointed out that since IMD has been mentioning these areas in PoK in its daily national weather bulletin and also the local bulletins, they should also find a place in the forecasts of the regional weather centre.
Mr Mohapatra said that the IMD, being the World Meteorological Department nominated Regional Meteorological Centre, provides severe weather warnings to Pakistan, Afghanistan, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Myanmar, Nepal and Bhutan detailing forecasts for the next five days.
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