President Ranil Wickremesinghe highlights India-Sri Lanka ties. UPI services rolled out in Sri Lanka and Mauritius during virtual ceremony with PM Modi
Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe on Monday congratulated Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the grand opening ceremony of the Ram Temple held in Ayodhya last month.
His remarks came during the virtual launch of India’s Unified Payment Interface (UPI) services in Sri Lanka and Mauritius, which was attended by PM Modi, Mauritian PM Pravind Jugnauth and the top leadership of the two island nations.
During the launch, Wickremesinghe underlined the long historical relations between India and Sri Lanka on the economic and cultural front. “…For you, Prime Minister Modi, it’s a second important occasion because I must congratulate you on the opening of the Ram Mandir just a few weeks ago. This shows our connections both economically and culturally,” he said.
‘ONLY UPGRADING TECHNOLOGICALLY’
For thousands of years, payments have taken place between India and Sri Lanka when there were no central banks, Wickremesinghe said. “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.”
Highlighting the centuries-old cooperation between the two countries in the economic arena, the Sri Lankan president said that today’s UPI launch is “only upgradation of technology.” “You have Lanka QR and the NIPL together. 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.
The launch of the Indian services in Sri Lanka and Mauritius came amid New Delhi’s increasing bilateral economic ties with the two countries. The launch enables the availability of UPI settlement services for Indian nationals travelling to Sri Lanka and Mauritius as well as for Mauritian nationals travelling to India.
PM Modi, who also spoke at the event, said 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. 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 said.
(With agency inputs)