Prime Minister Narendra Modi departed for his Official Visit to France this morning, and many have high expectations from this trip for the bilateral relations between India and France.
Reports are that India is likely to sign deals to purchase 26 Rafale-Marine fighters for the INS Vikrant aircraft carrier and three additional Scorpene submarines. While the primary focus of the two-day visit will be defence cooperation between the two countries, Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron are also scheduled to discuss the possible launch of the digital payment technology Unified Payments Interface (UPI) in France.
The UPI system, launched by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) in 2016, has emerged as a game-changer in the Indian financial landscape. Offering a convenient and secure platform, UPI enables instant fund transfers, bill payments, and merchant transactions through mobile devices. With its user-friendly interface and interoperability across various banks and payment service providers, UPI has witnessed exponential growth and played a crucial role in driving India’s digital economy.
Earlier this year, UPI signed an agreement with its Singapore equivalent PayNow, allowing users in either country to make cross-border transactions. The integration established faster remittance between both countries at a competitive rate. In simpler terms, it made it easier and quicker for people in both countries to send and receive money across borders.
Reports say that the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), the company behind UPI, and Lyra, France-based payments solution provider have been working on a similar deal for a year, and even signed an MOU in 2022. If everything goes smoothly, France will become the first European country to have a linkage with UPI. This agreement will let Indians pay using UPI and Rupay cards at terminals and machines offered by Lyra Networks in France. This would help make payments easier especially for students and tourists from India.
— NPCI (@NPCI_NPCI) June 16, 2022
Modi’s visit to France is crucial, as it coincides with the 25th anniversary of the strategic partnership between the two countries. Modi’s appearance as the guest of honour for the parade on the French National Day (Bastille Day) in Paris will be the culmination of this momentous year. An Indian tri-services contingent will also be part of the parade, while Indian Air Force aircraft will perform a fly-past on the occasion. He also expressed excitement about his engagement with the French leadership, which includes Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne, President of the National Assembly Yael Braun-Pivet, and the Presidents of the Senate.
This trip to France comes shortly after Modi’s state visit to the White House, and after the parade, he will travel to UAE for an official visit on July 15 and meet President HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan – signalling a period of heightened collaboration between India and Western nations.