Nepal on Saturday became the fourth foreign country to operationalise the RuPay card with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Nepalese counterpart Sher Bahadur Deuba jointly launching the Indian electronic payment system in the Himalayan nation.
The three other countries that have the RuPay card are Bhutan, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates.
The card was launched by the two leaders after holding talks covering wide-ranging issues including cooperation in areas of trade, investment and energy.
Deuba arrived in New Delhi on Friday in his first bilateral visit abroad after becoming prime minister for the fifth time in July 2021.
''Introduction of RuPay card in Nepal will add a new chapter to our financial connectivity,'' Modi said in his media statement after the talks.
The Ministry of External Affairs said the launch of the card in Nepal would open new vistas for cooperation in financial connectivity, and is expected to facilitate bilateral tourist flows as well as further strengthen people-to-people linkages.
RuPay card scheme was launched in 2012 as part of the Reserve Bank of India's vision to have a domestic, open and multilateral system of payments.
People familiar with the project said the Nepal SBI Bank (NSBL), a subsidiary of SBI and Nepal's largest international bank, worked on the initiative for over a year with support from Nepal's Central Bank. They said the launch of the card in Nepal will forge a new path to financial convenience and empowerment with the use of technology and innovation. It will not only enable ease of payment for RuPay car holders but also uplift Nepal's payment ecosystem capabilities, they said.
After the Modi-Deuba talks, Nepal and India also inked a pact for the renewal of an MoU for the supply of petroleum products for a period of five years between Indian Oil Corporation Ltd (IOCL) and Nepal Oil Corporation Ltd (NOC), the people cited above said.
Both parties had signed an agreement on March 27, 2017, which expired on March 31. The renewed agreement will remain valid for a period of five years.
The agreement is in the form of an umbrella pact enabling IOCL to supply petroleum products to NOC, including through the Motihari-Amlekhgunj pipeline which was commissioned in July 2019.
Another agreement was signed for sharing of technical expertise between IOCL and NOC.
The agreement is intended to assist NOC in acquiring technical knowledge and skill in petroleum products, and in the operation and maintenance of facilities required for the purpose. The people said IOCL will impart training and knowledge to NOC personnel in the fields of quality control, engineering, pipeline, IT, terminal/depot operation, infrastructure development and safety.
(With PTI inputs)