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Wednesday, 17 February 2016

From Today's Papers - 17 Feb 2016

Pak must vacate parts of J-K: UK MP
Dinesh Manhotra

Tribune News Service

Jammu, February 16
Member of Parliament (MP) in the United Kingdom Robert John Blackman today called upon the Central government to implement the resolution unanimously passed by the Indian Parliament to liberate parts of Jammu and Kashmir illegally occupied by Pakistan.

He said it was the only solution to the vexed Kashmir problem, a bone of contention between India and Pakistan since 1947.

“First of all, occupied parts of Jammu and Kashmir should be liberated from the yoke of Pakistan to restore the pre-1947 position of the state and then make the entire region an integral part of democratic India is the only solution to restore lasting and sustainable peace in South Asia,” Blackman, who is visiting J&K for the first time, told The Tribune. He especially mentioned the resolution passed by the Indian Parliament in this regard.

On February 22, 1994, Parliament had unanimously passed a resolution to liberate areas occupied by Pakistan. It was clearly resolved in the resolution that “the State of Jammu & Kashmir has been, is and shall be an integral part of India and any attempts to separate it from the rest of the country will be resisted by all necessary means; Pakistan must vacate the areas of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, which they have occupied through aggression”.

Nearly 22 years have passed but no progress has been made to implement the resolution, said the UK MP who belongs to the Conservative Party and represents Harrow East since 2010. He hoped that the incumbent government headed by Narendra Modi would take some steps to implement the resolution.

When asked about the solution to the Kashmir problem, the MP, popularly known as Bob Blackman, said accession of J&K with the Indian Union was full and final. “There is no further scope for any debate on Kashmir’s relations with India. Like other states, J&K is an integral part of India,” he said and mentioned that in 2015, he along with some other members of UK Parliament had participated in Accession Day on October 26.

Later, addressing a programme organised by Press Club of Jammu, Bob said the Pakistani diaspora had launched a vicious campaign against India in Britain as far as Kashmir was concerned. “The Pakistani diaspora has been reflecting the propagandist picture on Kashmir in the UK,” he said, adding that he along with some other MPs have started the process to use diplomatic means to present the real picture of Kashmir in Britain.
Indian Army may finally get US howitzers worth $700 m

NEW DELHI: India may finally exorcise its Bofors ghost of 30 years. After several years of hard-nosed negotiations, which also saw the proposed deal being stalled for a couple of years, the US government has finally submitted an over $700 million offer for India to acquire 145 M-777 ultra-light howitzers.

Sources said the Pentagon's "letter of offer and acceptance (LoA)", submitted to the Indian defence ministry on Monday under the American foreign military sales (FMS) programme, is now likely to lead to a government-to-government contract within 180 days, Times of India reported on Tuesday.

"We are also at an advanced stage of mutually deciding the Indian partners in the deal, who will establish the AIT (assembly, integration and testing) facility here. While the first lot will be delivered directly, the bulk of the 145 howitzers (manufactured by BAE Systems) will be assembled in India over three years," said a ministry source.The contract will entail a 30% offset clause, under which around $210 million will be invested back into India.

The LoA for the M-777s comes at a time when India is incensed with the US decision to sell another eight F-16 fighters to Pakistan for $700 million. But that is unlikely to impede the howitzer deal, with US having overtaken Russia, Israel and France to turn India's largest arms supplierover the last four years. Just since 2007, US has bagged Indian arms deals worth over $13 billion.

It was almost a decade ago that the Indian Army had first demanded the induction of 155mm/39-calibre light-weight howitzers, which could be airlifted swiftly to high altitude areas along the 4,057-km LAC with China. The air-mobile M-777s, partly made of titanium, have a strike range of over 25-km.

The ultra-light howitzers are meant to equip the new 17 Mountain Strike Corps, which is to be fully raised with 90,274 troops at a cost of Rs 64,678 crore by 2021. The Army has not been able to induct even one modern 155mm howitzer for over 30 years because of recurring scandals, which began with the Swedish Bofors in the mid-1980s and was then followed by South African Denel, Israeli Soltam and Singapore Technology Kinetic's (STK) in later years.
Army warns of phishing email seeking access to NIC accounts
The email is purportedly sent from an ID
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The Indian Army has advised its personnel not to reveal their personal details through email to anyone without verifying the source of the mail. The advisory is in response to reports of an email floating on the internet requesting for such details.

The Army Headquarters has accordingly said, “A fraudulent e-mail is circulating in the environment allegedly from webmaster, Indian Army, asking about the personal details of NIC email ID users. The environment is hereby advised not to reply to this email.”

The email is purportedly sent from an ID
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It says “We are upgrade and maintenance our Army database, If you have have NIC account please download link 1 and fill this from (Sic). If you do not have NIC account please open link 2 and open new user subscription. Enter Army number make your new NIC account.”

The Army has called the email a hoax and possibly dangerous.

The email then goes on to provide two links, and To provide further authenticity, the email gives the address of the Additional Directorate General of Public Information in South Block, New Delhi along with the webmaster’s email ID.

Sources inform that off late there have been several attempts to gather personal as well as official information on the internet and that several advisories are already in place not to share any information on an email which appears to be suspicious in nature.

A senior officer in Western Command informed that following the attempts by certain elements to befriend military personnel over social media platforms, a heightened alert over cyber security is in place.

“Such phishing emails make it clear that someone wants to get access to official email accounts in order to access the classified information which would be available in the email transactions. All officers and other ranks who handle such email accounts have been duly cautioned and in addition firewalls are being strengthened to prevent access or hacking,” he said.
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