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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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Coolpad Launches its Budget Smartphone in India

The phone is powered by a 2500mAh battery and runs "Spreadtrum SC9850K" chipset

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Coolpad's budget smartphone with 18:9 display in India. (IANS)

Chinese smartphone maker Coolpad on Thursday launched the “Mega 5A” phone with an aspect ratio of 18:9 in India for Rs 6,999.

The company is marketing the device as an “India exclusive” smartphone which is a feature-rich yet budget device.

“Mega 5A” runs Android 8.1 Oreo OS and has facial recognition feature.

“Coolpad is committed to offer best in class products, feature rich products that are priced right. Running 8.1 Android Oreo, a great screen and a powerful battery life, Coolpad Mega 5A will set another industry benchmark which is tough to match,” Syed Tajuddin, CEO, Coolpad India, said in a statement.

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“We have adopted an aggressive channel expansion strategy with offline channel as our primary focus area. India is a key market for Coolpad and we will launch a range of products that will cater to wider audience base,” he added.

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The device is equipped with a 5MP front camera and 8MP + 0.3 MP dual back camera. The handset features 2GB RAM and 16GB storage which can be expanded up to 64GB.

The phone is powered by a 2500mAh battery and runs “Spreadtrum SC9850K” chipset. (IANS)