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India-Arab League first ministerial meeting in Bahrain

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New Delhi: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj left for Bahrain to attend the first ministerial meeting between India and the Arab League on Sunday.

“This will be the first-ever ministerial meeting between India and the League of Arab States Foreign Ministers,” external affairs ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup tweeted.

The Arab League comprises 22 countries in West Asia and northern Africa.

The Arab countries combined together are India’s biggest trading partner with total trade of over $180 billion.

The relationship between India and the Arab countries has already been taken to the next level called India-Arab Partnership Conference, four meetings of which have already been held with New Delhi hosting the last one in 2014.

The next conference is scheduled to be held in Oman in May this year.

Emerging areas of cooperation between India and the Arab countries include agriculture, dry land farming, environment protection, information and communication technology (ICT), automobiles, small and medium enterprises (SMEs), biotechnology and space.

Sixty percent of India’s oil and gas comes from West Asia which is an important pillar of the country’s energy security.

The Maghreb region provides phosphates and fertilisers for India’s agricultural sector.

The seven-million strong Indian diaspora in the Gulf countries is an important source of remittances.

The first ministerial meeting in Bahrain on Sunday will provide new opportunities to further strengthen ties between the two sides.

“India has been consistently deepening its engagement with the Arab world. Our ancient ties have transformed into a modern partnership covering a whole host of areas,” said Swarup.

“The first ever India-Arab League ministerial meeting will unveil a new blueprint for our partnership with the very important region,” he added.

India is also concerned over the deepening sectarian divide in the region and the growing footprint of terror groups like the Islamic State.

After Saudi Arabia executed a Shia cleric on charges of terrorism earlier this month, its missions in Iran came under attack and subsequently diplomatic ties between Riyadh and Tehran were cut off.

It is hoped that Sunday’s meeting will also result in greater cooperation in counter-terrorism cooperation between India and the Arab League countries.

After reaching Manama on Saturday, Sushma Swaraj will hold a bilateral meeting with Bahrain.

Secretary (East) in the external affairs, Anil Wadhwa, who is already in Bahrain, is also scheduled to attend a meeting of senior officials of India and the Arab League countries on Saturday.(IANS)

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Petrol Prices On The Reverse Trend For The Last 13 Days: Prices Fall

Both in Delhi and Kolkata, diesel prices in the fortnight have declined

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Petrol Prices On The Reverse Trend For The Last 13 Days: Prices Falls
Petrol Prices On The Reverse Trend For The Last 13 Days: Prices Falls, flickr

Domestic petrol prices, which had hit record levels for 16 consecutive days in May, have been on the reverse trend for the last 13 days, including Monday, but the relief for consumers has been slow in coming.

The pace of decline has been less than half the rate of surge.

Percentage-wise, since May 30, when prices started to take a downturn, petrol prices have slipped 2.35 per cent in Delhi, compared to the 5.5 per cent in the previous 16 days.

In absolute terms, prices have gone down by Rs 1.85 a litre since May 30, compared to the increase of Rs 3.8 per litre in the during May 14-29. On Monday, fuel was sold at Rs 76.58 per litre in the national capital, down 20 paise from Sunday’s level, the IndianOil Corp’s website showed.

In Mumbai, where petrol prices were the highest in the country last month, the decline has been much slow at Rs 1.23 per litre so far, against the rise of Rs 3.76 a litre during May 14-29.

On Monday, petrol price in Mumbai was Rs 84.41 per litre against Rs 84.61 on Sunday. Similarly, in Kolkata and Chennai, the fuel was sold at Rs 79.25 and Rs 79.48 respectively.

In Kolkata and Chennai too, the decline has been Rs 1.81 and Rs 1.65 per litre in the last 13 days, around 50 per cent of the previous rate of increase.

In tandem with petrol prices, diesel too has seen a decline, but of only around 2 per cent in all the major cities including Delhi, compared to over 5 per cent rise in the previous fortnight.

Petrol station
Petrol station, flickr

Both in Delhi and Kolkata, diesel prices in the last 13 days have declined by Rs 1.36, and in Mumbai and Kolkata, the fall was of Rs 1.44 and Rs 1.45 per litre respectively.

Also read: Petrol price slashes by 32 paise and diesel price by 85 paise

On Monday, prices of the fuel in Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai were at Rs 67.95, Rs 70.50, Rs 72.35 and Rs 71.73 per litre, respectively. (IANS)