India-Saudi Arabia Current Affairs - 2019

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India, Saudi Arabia signs MoU to launch RuPay card in kingdom

During Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent visit to the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, India has signed an agreement with the Saudi Arabia to launch the RuPay card in the country. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was also signed between the two countries for the purpose. The step will benefit not only 2.6 million Indians in Gulf Kingdom but also pilgrims visiting Haj and Umrah.

The Rupay card lunch has made Suadi Arabia the third nation in West Asia to initiate India’s digital payment system.  India has already launched RuPay card in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Bhutan and Singapore.

About Rupay card

It is a first-of-its-kind Indian domestic Debit and Credit Card payment network. It is accepted at ATMs, POS devices as well as e-commerce websites. It was launched in 2012 to fulfil Reserve Bank of India’s (RBIs) vision to have a domestic, open and multilateral system of payments.

RuPay is India’s version of Master Card and Visa and is also a highly secure network that protects against cyberhacks. Currently, there are about 500 million RuPay cards in circulation in India.

To enhance its international acceptance, the RuPay has also tied-up with international players such as Discover, China Union Pay and Japan Credit Bureau. It recently also achieved a milestone of issuing 25 million RuPay cards.

India-Saudi Arabia

Over the last few years, India’s relations with the kingdom of Saudi Arabia have been on an upswing based on burgeoning energy ties besides cooperation in several other areas. PM Modi’s first visit to Riyadh in 2016 had put bilateral ties on a new trajectory.

With more than 2.6 million Indians working in Saudi Arabia, the Indian is the largest expatriate community in country. Every year nearly 2 lakh Haj pilgrims and about 3million Umrah pilgrims from India visit Saudi Arabia. The recent acceptance of Rupay card will allow the Indian expatriate and pilgrims to transact at cheaper rates.

India-Saudi Arabia sign MoUs during PM Modi visit

PM Modi visited Saudi Arabia to attend the Future Investment Initiative. During his visit, the two sides held bilateral talks during which they reviewed historical and close relations between the countries.

Highlights

  • The leaders of the two sides re-affirmed their deep commitment to strengthen “Riyadh Declaration”.
  • The leaders also expressed appreciation on the progress of bilateral relationship in economic, political, defence, security, manpower and people to people exchanges.
  • The two sides reiterated their categorical rejection of all forms of interference in the internal affairs of the countries and the need for the international community to fulfill the responsibilities over the attacks on sovereignty of states.
  • The leaders also emphasized the importance of preserving the unity of Yemen and achieving its security and stability on the basis of GCC initiative.

List of MoUs signed

  • Agreement on Strategic Partnership Council
  • MoU on cooperation in the field of Renewable Energy, security cooperation
  • Agreement in the field of illicit trafficking and smuggling of narcotic drugs, chemical precursors, psychotropic substances
  • MoUs on military acquisition, research, development, industries and technology.
  • MoUs in the field of civil aviation, small and medium enterprises, stock exchanges, petroleum and payment corporations.
  • An agreement was also signed for the cooperation in the field of medical products regulations.