India and Saudi Arabia discuss rupee-riyal trade and UPI payment system

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India and Saudi Arabia discussed the feasibility of institutionalizing the rupee-riyal trade, as well as the introduction of the instant payments system – United Payments Interface (UPI) – and Rupay cards in the kingdom, the Department of Trade and Industry said in a statement on Monday.

The two countries reaffirmed continued cooperation in joint projects including the West Coast Refinery, investment in LNG infrastructure and development of strategic oil storage facilities in India. Minister Piyush Goyal in Riyadh from September 18 to 19, the statement said.

During the visit, Goyal met with his counterpart Majid bin Abdullah Al-Kassabi and held broad discussions on bilateral trade, trade and investment ties.

These talks are gaining momentum as Oil Minister Hardeep Singh Puri hinted last week that he would revive the mega West Coast refinery project in Maharashtra. The project was shelved due to opposition from residents. Aramco, the world’s largest oil company, and Adnoc of the United Arab Emirates wanted to take significant minority stakes in the project launched jointly by Indian Oil, BPCL and HPCL.

“Agreement to undertake the implementation of priority projects within a specified period. Priority areas of cooperation include: collaboration in the digital fintech sector through the operationalization of UPI and the Rupay card in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” the statement read.

Diversification and expansion of trade and commerce, removal of trade barriers including outstanding issues related to sanitary and phytosanitary measures and trade remedies, automatic registration and marketing clearance of Indian pharmaceutical products in Saudi Arabia, were some of the other key points of discussion with the Saudi trade minister.

The ministerial meeting also approved the 41 areas of cooperation identified by the technical teams in the four main areas of agriculture and food security, energy, technology and information technology, and industry. and infrastructure.

Goyal attended the ministerial meeting of the India-Saudi Arabia Strategic Partnership Council. Goyal and Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman Al-Saud co-chaired the ministerial meeting of the council’s economy and investment committee.

Saudi Arabia is India’s fourth largest trading partner. India is largely dependent on the nation to meet its oil needs. From April to July, the country was India’s second largest crude oil import partner, after Iraq.

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Elaine R. Knight