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India will always stand firmly beside Afghanistan, says President Pranab Mukherjee

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

Welcoming President Ashraf Ghani on his first state visit to India as the President of Afghanistan, President Mukherjee conveyed his condolences over the tragic death of 52 persons in a land slide in the Badakhshan Province yesterday. He said India was proud of its close relations with Afghanistan.

“India shares the Afghan President’s goal of building a strong, prosperous and independent Afghanistan. It appreciates the work he is doing and the formation of a national unity government which adds a new dimension to the process of democratic evolution in Afghanistan, ” Mukherjee said.

The President said India supports an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned national reconciliation process within the framework of the Afghan constitution. India-Afghanistan co-operation has neither an expiry date nor a timeline. As a friend and neighbour, India will always stand firmly beside Afghanistan. India considers it a privilege to share its capabilities and experience in nation-building and inclusive development with people of Afghanistan.

Talking about the bilateral trade, the President said, “72 Indian companies have invested around US$ 17 million in Afghanistan from 2003-2013. India will encourage more companies to invest in Afghanistan.” He expressed confidence that Afghan President’s visit will further strengthen the two country’s successful co-operation in all spheres of shared interest.

Responding to President Mukherjee, the Afghan President said it was an honour to be invited to stay in Rashtrapati Bhavan and an important recognition granted to the people of Afghanistan.

President Ghani thanked President Mukherjee for his condolences and expressed sympathies for the people of Nepal dealing with the aftermath of the earthquake. He conveyed appreciation for India’s leadership in disaster management and called for a regional framework for the purpose. President Ghani said  that Afghanistan hoped  to have a shared destiny and destination with India in Asia.

Later, in his banquet speech, President Mukherjee said, “Although the Afghan President has travelled to India in his previous capacities on a number of occasions, this is a special visit. This time he is visiting India as leader of the National Unity Government in Afghanistan and as President of a nation with whom India has a cherished history of profound cultural, religious and civilisational bonds.

The President said India believes that the enduring trust and mutual understanding between India and Afghanistan goes beyond political and strategic considerations. The two countries’ shared history and geography is a compelling factor in nurturing our close ties. Because of this historical reality, there has been strong and sustained support in India for its engagement with Afghanistan in its post-conflict economic reconstruction effort. India is confident that over the next few years, Afghanistan will see a significant transformation across its sectors and in all areas of its social and economic advancement.

The President said India remains deeply conscious that Afghanistan’s unity, independence, security and stability are critical–not only for itself–but also for India and for peace and progress in entire neighbourhood. To this end, the two country’s strategic partnership looks to strengthen and diversify bilateral engagement in the coming years, by forging a more robust trade and investment relationship between private sectors.

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79% Smartphone Users in India Using Over-the-Top (OTT) Apps

The OTT platforms installed on the devices are in addition to the casual entertainment apps such as YouTube and UGC

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Hotstar is the most-penetrated OTT entertainment app with 49 per cent of smartphone users having it installed on their devices. Pixabay

Seventy-nine per cent smartphone users in India are using over-the-top (OTT) apps for entertainment and as many as four out of five users have at least one OTT entertainment platform on their device, a new report said on Thursday.

Hotstar is the most-penetrated OTT entertainment app with 49 per cent of smartphone users having it installed on their devices.

The OTT platforms installed on the devices are in addition to the casual entertainment apps such as YouTube and UGC (User Generated Content) platforms like TikTok and with such as penetration, OTT entertainment apps have become the ‘most-penetrated’ app category for smartphone users in India after social networking, chatting and e-commerce Apps, revealed the report by market research firm techARC.

“Over the past three years, we have seen a lot of enablement both from the smartphone OEMs as well as operators’ sides. This has facilitated the growth of OTT entertainment services as well as consumption.

Smartphone, Users, India
Seventy-nine per cent smartphone users in India are using over-the-top (OTT) apps for entertainment and as many as four out of five users have at least one OTT entertainment platform on their device. Pixabay

“While 4G has undoubtedly created this category, it has been complemented by the smartphone industry that has innovated to save every micron on the screen for full-screen viewing, backed by a powerful battery and stereophonic sound,” said Faisal Kawoosa, Founder and Chief Analyst, techARC.

One of the main factors for Hotstar’s growth has been its sports content, especially cricket.

Meanwhile, Amazon Prime Video has slightly better penetration than Netflix in India. Prime Video penetration is 15 per cent as compared to 13 per cent of Netflix.

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This is a result of Amazon’s close relationship with some smartphone OEMs where Amazon apps like Amazon Shopping and Amazon Prime Video come pre-loaded in the device. (IANS)