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Tata Motors to drive in Nexon EV in March

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Tata Motors has announced that the all-electric Nexon will be launched in India by Q4 FY 2019-2020 (January-March, 2020). The model will be the first Tata EV to be powered by the brand’s Ziptron technology, which had been unveiled last month. While Tata has not revealed many details of the Nexon EV as yet, the company is targeting a range of about 300km, and its pricing is expected to be in the Rs 15-17 lakh range.

It will source power from advanced lithium-ion cells which will give a drive range of about 300 kms on a single charge. The battery pack will also be liquid cooled and will be packed in a solid IP67 case which provides high strength outer shell to protect critical electric vehicle components.

Currently, in India, the only fully-electric SUV is the Hyundai Kona EV. The Kona is priced at Rs 24 lakh and is to be sold in limited numbers and states. However, Hyundai said that the alloted numbers have already been accounted for. The government subsidies have played an important part in this. At present, Tata’s Tigor EV is priced around the Rs 10 lakh mark. It will be interesting to see whether buyers line up for the new Nexon EV or not, especially given the higher price point.

Speaking on the occasion, Shailesh Chandra, President, Electric Mobility Business and Corporate Strategy, Tata Motors, said, “We are proud to announce that Nexon EV will be available for personal buyers in India from Q4 (Jan-Mar) FY19-20. Powered by the cutting-edge Ziptron technology, Nexon EV promises to address the barriers that exist in the EV market today and will deliver thrilling on-road performance, ensuring zero-emission. We are also excited to have the famous celebrity couple, Milind Soman and Ankita Konwar on board to share their experience with the EV enthusiasts. We are confident that the new Nexon EV will further raise the bar for electric cars, making EVs an aspirational choice for consumers.”

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Pakistan following threats to split OIC,Saudi Arabia ends loan and associated oil supply.

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Saudi Arabia has ended a loan and associated oil supply to Pakistan due to Islamabad’s criticism that Riyadh-dominated Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) is not doing enough on the Kashmir issue, signalling further deterioration in relations between the two allies. Pakistan Foreign Minister had even threatened to split OIC if the group fails to convene a stand-alone session on Kashmir.

Pakistan had to repay a Saudi loan of $1 billion after Pakistan persisted that it should lead OIC on the Kashmir issue. The loan was part of a $6.2 billion package announced by Saudi Arabia in November 2018, which included a total of $3 billion in loans and an oil credit facility amounting to $3.2 billion. Those deals were then signed when Crown Prince Muhammed Bin Salman made a visit to Pakistan in February last year.

But Saudi Arabia focusing on further expanding partnership with India has not shown any willingness to convene a stand-alone meet on Kashmir.

Last week Pakistan’s foreign minister, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, asked the OIC to stop dilly-dallying on convening a meeting of the group’s Council of Foreign Ministers on Kashmir.

Qureshi had told local media: “I am once again respectfully telling OIC that a meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers is our expectation. If you cannot convene it, then I’ll be compelled to ask Prime Minister Imran Khan to call a meeting of the Islamic countries that are ready to stand with us on the issue of Kashmir and support the oppressed Kashmiris.”

In response to a reporter’s query, Qureshi also said that Pakistan could not wait any further and threatened that if the OIC fails to summon the CFM meeting, Pakistan would be ready to go for a session outside OIC.

The minister recalled that Pakistan skipped the Kuala Lumpur summit in December on Saudi Arabia’s request and “now Pakistani Muslims are demanding Riyadh to show leadership on the issue”.

Pakistan’s stance is backed by Turkey which wants to challenge Saudi Arabia’s leadership in the Islamic world. Riyadh backs New Delhi’s stand that Kashmir is its domestic matter. The UAE, Oman, and some North African and West Asian nations are among the other Muslim-majority nations backing India on this. India also has tacit support from Indonesia, the world’s biggest Muslim nation. Besides Central Asian states have also backed India.

In May, Maldives had initiated a move to oppose Pakistan’s rant against India at the OIC meet. Saudi Arabia and the UAE (once traditional allies of Pakistan) had backed the stand taken by Maldives, a sign of their expanding ties with New Delhi. Oman, India’s oldest strategic partner in the Gulf region, is believed to have stated at the meet that the discourse is part of India’s internal affairs, according to sources.

A number of other countries from the OIC had not responded to Pakistan’s initiative led by its permanent representative (PR) at the UN. Interestingly, UAE’s decision to back India had drawn a backlash from Pakistan-based social media. The UAE had chaired the virtual meeting of the PRs on May 19.

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