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Three out of every four young Indians choose video dating to find love

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BY S VENKAT NARAYAN,
Our Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI, October 1:More and more young Indians, even in small towns, are relying on dating apps to find love and companionship. They are choosing video calls over in-person dating to know each other. The surge in usage is especially strong outside metro cities, which now account for 70% of users of the dating apps such as Tinder, Bumble and TrulyMadly, company executives said.Cities such as Ahmedabad, Surat, Lucknow, Jaipur, Chandigarh and Patna are seeing a significant surge in usage, catching up with the country’s major cities.

With virtual dates becoming a norm, a substantial number of women are now becoming more vocal on dating platforms.Nearly 72% of users believe finding love online without meeting them in person is possible, the executives at dating apps said.

“The distinction between our online and offline world is blurring. As a result, the time spent online is on the rise,” said Shalini Singh, founder of Andwemet, a dating service for 25-plus single Indians that has seen its user-base triple annually in the past two years.

Singh said there is more trust in online platforms in the post-pandemic era, and people are willing to pay for the convenience of online dating.Usage in these cities has also been boosted with many moving to their hometowns from metros after the pandemic, she said. Dating apps are attracting affluent users even in small-town India.

According to Tinder’s Year in Swipe 2021, video dates have become a first-date staple for singletons, with mentions of ‘video call’ in Tinder bios growing by 52% globally.

Many Indians took to video dating on Tinder, where Hyderabad reigned supreme as the chattiest city, followed closely by Chennai and Bengaluru. Yet, young adults were also looking to make a connection with new people close to them for real-life hangouts with ‘nearby’ and ‘close by’, both increasing by 20% in Tinder bios globally, showing that real-world dating isn’t going out of fashion anytime soon.

“As we shift back to IRL (in real life) dating in 2022, the trends of last year are guiding the way India’s young adults navigate the world of dating, friends, connections and relationships,” said Papri Dev, senior director, APAC communications lead, Tinder Inc.

Snehil Khanor, co-founder and chief executive officer of TrulyMadly, said that most first dates are still on video, and if things work out, users plan an offline date.Sybil Shiddel, country manager for Gleeden, a platform designed for extramarital relationships, said during the pandemic, a large part of its user base found virtual exchanges satisfying.

“They were happy with having found companionship and that their online exchanges allowed them to unwind, laugh, flirt and sext without putting them at risk. Time spent on the app has tripled,” Shiddel said.

“In 2022, when the ghost of the pandemic is no longer lingering above our heads with the same strength as previous years, Indian users still spend an average of 3.5 hours chatting,” Shiddel said. Before March 2020, most Gleeden users came from Delhi, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Mumbai, Ahmedabad and Chennai.

During 2020, 2021 and the first part of 2022, the maximum traction was seen from Gurugram (currently the platform’s No. 5 city), Chandigarh, Kochi, Jaipur, Lucknow, Noida, Nagpur, Indore, Navi Mumbai, Burdwan, Howrah and Thane.

Agreeing that video calls are now a part of the screening process before an in-person date, Able Joseph, founder and CEO of dating app Aisle, said casual hook-ups may be on a slow decline. “Loneliness—coupled with a few years of uncertainty—has led to a certain sense of collective fatigue that’s developed in the Indian dating landscape. Singles are found moving away from the endless loop of swiping across dating platforms and are now looking for more substance in a relationship,” Joseph added.

Since the majority of the new users are signing up from smaller towns and cities, with limited matches in their location, they are looking online for suitable partners across the country, said Ravi Mittal, founder and CEO of dating service QuackQuack, which has seen an 11% jump in female users.Samarpita Samaddar, India communications director at Bumble, said the pandemic has made “more than half of us (62%)” realize that it’s okay to be alone for a while.

“People are consciously deciding to be single, with the majority of single people (54%) being more mindful and intentional in how and when they date,” she said.

A nationwide survey conducted in 2021 showed that after the second covid wave in India, emotional connection (60%) and kindness (55%) top the charts as being the most important to single Indians in dating, Samaddar said.

“Social good in terms of volunteering, donating to social causes (48%) especially rank high in preferences for millennials in India,” she added.



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President Ranil Wickremasinghe calls upon chief prelates of Asgiriya and Malwatta chapters

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(pic courtsey Divaina)

President Ranil Wickremasinghe called upon the chief prelates of the Asgiriya and Malwatta chapters on Thursday (02) morning to seek their blessings ahead of the 75th Independence day celebrations.

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US secures deal on bases to complete arc around China

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US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin (R) was in the Philippines to finalise the deal (picture BBC)

BBC reported that the United States has secured access to four additional military bases in the Philippines – a key bit of real estate which would offer a front seat to monitor the Chinese in the South China Sea and around Taiwan.

With this deal, Washington has stitched the gap in the arc of US alliances stretching from South Korea and Japan in the north to Australia in the south.

The missing link had been the Philippines, which borders two of the biggest potential flashpoints, Taiwan and the South China Sea, or the West Philippine Sea as Manila insists on calling it.

The US already had limited access to five sites under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) – the new additions and expanded access, according to a statement from Washington, will “allow more rapid support for humanitarian and climate-related disasters in the Philippines, and respond to other shared challenges”, likely a veiled reference to countering China in the region.

The statement came after Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin met Philippine President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr in Manila on Thursday.

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Nuland accuses China of failing to help SL with ‘credible and specific assurances’ acceptable to IMF

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Nuland addressing the media in Colombo (pic by Thushara Atapattu)

US hopes LG polls will be held in March

By Saman Indrajith

US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, Victoria Nuland, yesterday said China had not provided credible and specific assurances to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for Sri Lanka to overcome the current economic crisis.

Addressing the media in Colombo, Nuland said: “What China has offered so far is not enough. We need to see credible and specific assurances that they will meet the IMF standard of debt relief. We, the United States, are prepared to do our part. Our Paris Club partners are prepared to do their part. India has made strong commitments that it will provide the credible assurances the IMF is looking for.”

Nuland said that India and the Paris Club had given strong assurances to the IMF to help Sri Lanka to obtain a $2.9 billion bailout.

“We want to see an IMF program as quickly as possible. That is what Sri Lanka deserves; that is what Sri Lanka needs,” Nuland said.

Nuland said the US would give Sri Lanka an additional USD 30 million to provide 96,000 schoolchildren with food.

She said Sri Lankans had taken to the streets, last year, demanding cleaner, accountable and inclusive governance, with transparency, and the government was expected to hold the elections to enable people to enjoy their democratic rights.

Nuland said that the US was glad to see that consultation between the government and other parties towards reconciliation had commenced. She said that she had met with members of the Tamil political parties, earlier yesterday. “We hope that the dialogue will continue to achieve real results such as return of the lands to their rightful owners.”

Nuland said that the US hoped that local elections would be held in March, the dialogue commenced for reconciliation would continue, and the Prevention of Terrorism Act would be reformed to meet international standards.

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