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Microsoft settles India controversy

NEW DELHI, Sept. 9 -- The Indian launch of U.S.-based Microsoft's new Windows '95 computer system has been cleared following objections over a map in the software that shows part of the country lying inside neighboring Pakistan, reports said Saturday. New Delhi approved Windows '95 after Microsoft Corporation withdrew the controversial map and apologized to the Indian government, the Asian Age newspaper said.

The map appears as part of a time zone feature in the software. The border between the two countries has been a sensitive issue since the 1965 Indo-Pakistani War in which Islamabad's troops occupied a portion of the mountainous Kashmir region. 'The Jammu and Kashmir border was not accurate and a large portion was depicted as Pakistani territory,' a senior Home Ministry official said. 'We are remanufacturing the package for the Indian market in which the map does not appear at all,' Hemant Sharma, technical manager for Microsoft, said. Future packets distributed elsewhere will not carry the map, Sharma said. Microsoft is not the first foreign company to be the subject of such a controversy. Recently, Atlanta-based Cable News Network's launch in India attracted the ire of many Indians when a weather map contained the same error. While the United Nations considers Kashmir -- currently divided among India, Pakistan and China -- as disputed territory, India claims sovereignty over the region and accuses Pakistan of illegally occupying its territory. 'It is a serious issue for the government,' an official said. The Indian government has a policy of banning the sale of publications in India that show any part of Kashmir under Pakistani or Chinese control. In the past, New Delhi has prohibited book sales carrying such maps, including Encyclopedia Britannica.

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