New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to France and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) resulted in a series of significant agreements aimed at enhancing bilateral ties and cooperation. In France, both countries announced several defence-related pacts, including agreements for the construction of three submarines for the Indian Navy and joint development of jet and helicopter engines. Additionally, plans were unveiled to introduce India’s Unified Payment Interface (UPI) system in Europe, with the first merchant in France set to accept UPI by September.
In UAE, Prime Minister Modi held comprehensive talks with President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Both countries agreed to settle trade in their respective currencies and link India’s UPI with the UAE’s Instant Payment Platform (IPP). The Reserve Bank of India and the Central Bank of the UAE signed two MoUs to establish a framework for promoting the use of local currencies and to cooperate in interlinking payment and messaging systems.
India and France announced a series of agreements aimed at strengthening defence cooperation and advancing bilateral ties. The key highlights of the agreements are as follows:
Submarine Construction: State-run Mazagon Dockyard Ltd and France’s Naval Group signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the construction of three additional Scorpene submarines.
Aeronautical Technologies: After the delivery of 36 Rafale combat jets to India, both countries will extend their cooperation in advanced aeronautical technologies. A joint development project for a combat aircraft engine will be undertaken by France’s Safran and India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
Helicopter Engines: Industrial cooperation will be supported for the development of an engine for India’s multi-role helicopter program. An agreement was concluded between Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and Safran Helicopter Engine for the engine development. Another MoU between Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Ltd and France’s Naval Group focussed on collaboration on a surface ship that meets Indian Naval forces’ requirements.
Defence Industrial Cooperation: Both countries are working on adopting a Roadmap on Defense Industrial Cooperation. India will establish a technical office of the DRDO at its embassy in Paris to further enhance cooperation.
UPI System Expansion: India’s Unified Payment Interface (UPI) system will be rolled out in Europe, with plans to launch it in France. The Reserve Bank of India and France’s Lyra Collect signed an agreement to facilitate the introduction of UPI in France. The Eiffel Tower in Paris will become the first merchant in France to accept UPI.
Post-France visit, during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s 1-day visit to UAE, comprehensive talks were held with UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, leading to the following agreements:
Currency Settlement: The Reserve Bank of India and the Central Bank of the UAE signed an MoU to establish a framework for promoting the use of local currencies, namely the Indian rupee (INR) and the UAE Dirham (AED), for cross-border transactions. This initiative aims to optimize transaction costs and settlement time, promoting investments and remittances between the two countries.
UPI Integration: India’s UPI system will be linked with the UAE’s Instant Payment Platform (IPP). The cooperation between the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) and UAE’s payment systems aims to enhance digital payment mechanisms and facilitate seamless transactions between the two countries.
COP28 Action: India and UAE call for developed countries to fulfill the $100-billion delivery plan to address climate change effects. PM Modi extended full support to the UAE’s incoming presidency of the climate conference, COP28, and congratulated the UAE for being selected as the host country of the conference in 2023.
MoU on Education: An MoU was signed between India’s Ministry of Education, Abu Dhabi’s Department of Education and Knowledge, and IIT-Delhi, in the presence of PM Modi and UAE President Al Nahyan, to establish an IIT-Delhi campus.