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India to reconsider international military force pullback from Afghanistan

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United Nations: Within hours after terrorist suicide bombers attacked Afghanistan’s parliament on Monday, India asked the international community to reconsider pulling troops from there because of the worsening security situation.

Permanent Representative Asoke Kumar Mukerji,  told the Security Council,  “Given the critical phase that the political transition has entered, and the deteriorating security situation, we feel there is a strong case for the international community to take a fresh look at the manner in which the drawdown of the international military presence in Afghanistan is being planned out.”

He cited the latest report on Afghanistan by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, which said that armed clashes have increased by 45 percent compared to last year and 71 percent of the violence has been concentrated in the southern, south-eastern and eastern regions.

“These statistics only reinforces our view that terrorism, and not tribal differences or ethnic rivalries is the main source of insecurity and instability in Afghanistan,” he said.

The NATO-led coalition,  International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), which had 140,000 troops at the height of the deployment, formally ended its operations in Afghanistan at the end of last year and pulled out most of its personnel.

Only about 12,000 troops have been left behind in a non-combat role to advise and continue training the Afghan military in an operation named Resolute Support Mission.

Ban’s report also said that, according to Afghan government estimates, there are 7,180 foreign fighters in the country. “It is obvious that they could not have entered Afghanistan, or continue to sustain their terror attacks without support from beyond Afghanistan’s borders,” Mukerji said in a diplomatically couched reference to Pakistan which it did not name.

At the start of the Council debate on UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), its head Nicholas Haysom also referred to the role of the foreign fighters and expressed concern that Islamic State (IS) was trying to establish a foothold in the troubled nation.

Haysom, also, called for greater regional involvement and collaboration to meet the threat from these forces.

Turning to the tattered economy of Afghanistan, Mukerji said that nation could be the “natural land bridge” connecting the economies of Central Asia and South Asia.

To enhance Kabul’s role India has taken three steps, he said: “We have indicated our willingness to join the an expanded PATTTA (Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan Trade and Transit Agreement), we are working with the government of Iran to see how the Chahbahar Port in Iran can be used to provide Afghanistan with an alternate access to the sea route, and have unilaterally offered Afghanistan access to the facilities of the Integrated Check Post at Attari on the Wagah-Attari border crossing point on the India-Pakistan international border.”

(IANS)

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This is the first time when the smartphone market is at par with the feature phone market, each contributing 50 per cent to the overall mobile phone market

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Xiaomi cuts prices of 5 smartphones in India.

Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi on Friday announced that it was permanently cutting the prices of five of its handsets in India, a day after the International Data Corporation (IDC) declared that the company was the market leader in the third quarter of 2018 in the country.

“We are delighted to share that we have seen a reduction in component costs of some of our best-selling phones. We were announced as the number one smartphone vendor in India for the fifth consecutive quarter, as per IDC Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker.

“As a celebration of that, Xiaomi is announcing price cut for five smartphones,” the company said in a statement.

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Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi on Friday announced that it was permanently cutting the prices of five of its handsets in India.

The 4GB+64GB variants of Redmi Note 5 Pro, Mi A2 and Redmi Y2 are now available for Rs 13,999, Rs 15,999 and Rs 11, 999, respectively while the prices of 6GB+128GB variants of Redmi Note 5 Pro and Mi A2 have dropped to Rs 15,999 and Rs 18,999, respectively.

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This is the first time when the smartphone market is at par with the feature phone market, each contributing 50 per cent to the overall mobile phone market. (IANS)