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India invites Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan to be 2017 Republic Day Chief Guest

This year, Modi visited Saudi Arabia where he was conferred with that Gulf nation's highest civilian honour, the King Abdulaziz Sash, and then Iran soon thereafter

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Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Wikimedia

Oct 02, 2016: In what can be seen as a bid to strengthen ties with the Gulf region that is home to a large population of expatriates, India has invited Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan to be the chief guest at next year’s Republic Day celebrations.

“We hope 2 welcome a dear friend of India, HH Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, as Republic Day 2017 Chief Guest,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup tweeted on Sunday evening.

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After Act East, India has been following a policy of Think West encompassing the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries that are home to around seven million expatriate Indians, most of whom are blue-collar workers involved in the infrastructure sector.

This honour to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), of which Abu Dhabi is the biggest constituent, and is home to around two million expatriate Indians comes after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to it in August last year.

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The Prime Minister addressed a huge diaspora rally at the Dubai Cricket Stadium during the visit.

The GCC comprises Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

This year, Modi visited Saudi Arabia where he was conferred with that Gulf nation’s highest civilian honour, the King Abdulaziz Sash, and then Iran soon thereafter.

Prime MInister Narendra  Modi was conferred with the Gulf nation's Highest Civilian Honour , 'the King Abdulaziz Sash' on his visit to saudia arabia earlier this year.
Prime Minister Narendra  Modi was conferred with the Gulf nation’s highest Civilian Honour , ‘the King Abdulaziz Sash’ on his visit to Saudi Arabia earlier this year. Wikimedia

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The last time a leader from the Gulf region graced the Republic Day as chief guest was when then King of Saudi Arabia Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud visited India in 2006. (IANS)

 

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Tech Giant Google Refuses to Remove Controversial Saudi App

Human rights groups such as Amnesty International have also criticised Google and Apple for allowing the app on their platforms

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A Google logo is displayed at the entrance to the internet based company's offices in Toronto. VOA

Google has refused to pull out a controversial government app from Saudi Arabia which lets men track and control women who travel, saying it does not violate its Play Store policies.

According to a report in the Business Insider on Sunday, the tech giant told the office of California Democrat Representative Jackie Speier, who had called for the removal of the app called “Absher”, that the app does not violate its terms of service.

The US Representatives Speier, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and 11 others have demanded that Apple and Google must both remove the app.

Speier called Google’s response “deeply unsatisfactory”.

“The responses received so far from Apple and Google are deeply unsatisfactory. As of today, the Absher app remains available in both the Apple App store and the Google Play Store even though they can easily remove it,” Speier was quoted as saying.

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Google CEO Sundar Pichai speaks at the Google I/O conference in Mountain View, California.

Apple was yet to announce its decision.

Absher allows Saudi users to access government services and also offers features which allow “Saudi men to grant and rescind travel permission for women and to set up SMS alerts for when women use their passports”.

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An earlier report suggested Saudi men could use the app to control female dependents.

Human rights groups such as Amnesty International have also criticised Google and Apple for allowing the app on their platforms. (IANS)