NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Monday that India’s Unified Payment Interface (UPI) is implementing new responsibilities of uniting partners with India.
“Today is a special day for three friendly countries in the Indian Ocean region. Today we are connecting our historical relations in a modern digital way. This is proof of our commitment to the development of our people,” PM Modi said in a virtual ceremony that launched UPI services in Sri Lanka and Mauritius today.
Addressing the event through video conferencing, PM Modi said that through Fintech connectivity, not only cross-border transactions but also cross-border connections will be strengthened.
Sri Lanka President Ranil Wickremesinghe and Mauritius Prime Minister Praveen Jugnauth were also present at the event which launched India’s UPI services in the two island countries.
“Through Fintech connectivity, not only cross-border transactions but also cross-border connections will be strengthened. India’s Unified Payments Interface i.e. UPI is now performing a new responsibility – Uniting Partners with India,” he added.
Mauritius Prime Minister Jugnauth, who was also present during the launch via video-conferencing said that with the digital payment connectivity, the ties between India and Mauritius have entered a new dimension.
“It gives me great pleasure to join you all on this milestone occasion. The Rupay card co-branded with our national payment switch, the MoCAS, will be designated as the domestic card in Mauritius. India and Mauritius share strong cultural, commercial and people-to-people linkages which date back centuries ago. Today we are giving yet another dimension to this relationship.”
“One of the highlights of the G20 meeting under the Indian presidency was the commitment to improve access to digital services and digital public infrastructure and leverage digital transformation opportunities to boost sustainable and inclusive growth. Mauritius has already embarked on its,” the Mauritian PM said.
As launch took place, the first UPI transaction was conducted by an Indian national in Mauritius. Separately, an Indian national in Sri Lanka also conducted the first UPI transaction.
Sri Lanka President Wickremesinghe said, “…For you, Prime Minister Modi, it’s a second important occasion because I must congratulate you for the opening of the Ram Mandir just a few weeks ago. This shows our connections both economically and culturally,” as he congratulated PM Modi.
“For thousands of years, payments have taken place between our two countries and at that time, unfortunately, there were no central banks. Our museums hold a number of coins, south Indian coins of over 1000 years old, which have been found in different parts of villages or the dry zone. An indication that the South Indian trading corporations were very active, even in the villages. So what we are doing today is only upgrading it technologically. You have Lanka QR and the NIPL together,” Wickremesinghe said.
“And certainly, as more and more Indian tourists visit Sri Lanka, this will be used in every village in our country. Furthermore, the transactions that go on between Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka and Mumbai of such that this certainly is valuable…” he added.
A key emphasis of the Indian government has notably been on ensuring that the benefits of UPI are not limited to India only, but other countries, too, benefit from it.
So far, Sri Lanka, Mauritius, France, UAE, and Singapore have partnered with India on emerging fintech and payment solutions.
Given India’s robust cultural and people-to-people linkages with Sri Lanka and Mauritius, the launch will benefit a wide cross-section of people through a faster and seamless digital transaction experience and enhance digital connectivity between the countries, the MEA release said.
The launch will enable the availability of UPI settlement services for Indian nationals travelling to Sri Lanka and Mauritius, as well as, for Mauritian nationals travelling to India.
The extension of RuPay card services in Mauritius will enable Mauritian banks to issue cards based on the RuPay mechanism in Mauritius and facilitate the usage of RuPay cards for settlements both in India and Mauritius, it added.
Notably, during Wickremesinghe’s New Delhi visit in July 2023, India and Sri Lanka inked an agreement of UPI’s acceptance in the island country. (ANI)