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India, Saudi Arabia discuss Rupee-Riyal trade, UPI payment system


India and Saudi Arabia have discussed the feasibility of institutionalising Rupee-Riyal trade, as well as the introduction of the instant payments system–United Payments Interface (UPI)–and Rupay cards in the kingdom, the commerce and industry ministry said in a statement on Monday.

Both countries have re-affirmed continued cooperation in joint projects including the West coast refinery, LNG infrastructure investment and development of strategic petroleum storage facilities in India.These three issues discussed were ‘priority’ areas of cooperation during the two day visit of commerce and industry minister to Riyadh from September 18 to 19, the statement said.

During the visit, Goyal met his counterpart Majid bin Abdullah Al-Kassabi and held wide ranging discussions on bilateral trade, commerce and investments linkages.

These discussions assume significance as the oil minister Hardeep Singh Puri had last week hinted at reviving the stalled mega West Coast refinery project in Maharashtra. The project was put on the back burner due to opposition from locals. The world’s largest oil company Saudi Arabia’s Aramco and UAE’s Adnoc were keen to pick up considerable minority stakes in the project that was jointly floated by the Indian Oil, BPCL and HPCL.

“Agreement to undertake implementation of the priority projects in a time bound manner. Priority areas of cooperation include: Collaboration in the digital fintech sector through operationalization of UPI and Rupay Card in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” the statement said.

Diversification and expansion of trade and commerce, removal of trade barriers, including the outstanding issues related to sanitary and phytosanitary measures and trade remedies, automatic registration and marketing authoriza-tion of Indian pharma products in Saudi Arabia, were some of the other key points of discussion the Saudi Arabia’s commerce minister.

The ministerial meeting also endorsed the 41 areas of cooperation identified by the technical teams under the four broad domains of agriculture and food security, energy, technology and IT, and industry and infrastructure.

Goyal attended the ministerial meeting of the Strategic Partnership Council. Goyal and Saudi Minister for Energy Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman Al-Saud co-chaired the ministerial meeting of the Committee on and Investments of the council.

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

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