Russia is looking to strengthen its business ties with India amid economic sanctions imposed by the West on Moscow over the war in Ukraine.
During the India-Russia Intergovernmental Commission for Trade, Economic, Scientific & Cultural Cooperation (IRIGC-TEC) meeting, they discussed the possibility of accepting RuPay and Mir cards in each other's countries to facilitate hassle-free payments.
The mutual acceptance of RuPay and Mir cards will facilitate transactions, making it easier for citizens of both countries to carry out cross-border payments.
The meeting was jointly chaired by India’s External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar and Russia's Deputy Prime Minister Denis Manturov.
The two countries also agreed to explore the adoption of the Russian financial messaging system, the Services Bureau of Financial Messaging System of the Bank of Russia, for cross-border payments.
In addition, the meeting also explored the possibility of interaction between India's Unified Payments Interface (UPI) and Russia's Faster Payments System (FPS).
Participants at the meeting also talked about the recently introduced cross-border connectivity between UPI and PayNow in Singapore and underlined the digital transfers that would help the Indian diaspora in Singapore, including migrant workers and students.
RuPay and Mir are both payment card networks developed in India and Russia, respectively. Both systems were launched with the aim of reducing reliance on international payment networks like Visa and Mastercard, and promoting financial independence in their respective countries.
RuPay is India’s first card payment network, with wide acceptance at ATMs, POS devices and e-commerce websites across the country. Launched by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) in 2012, RuPay has partnered with several banks and financial institutions in India to offer a wide range of payment services, including online payments, mobile banking, and e-commerce transactions.
Mir was launched by the Central Bank of Russia in 2015 as part of the response to the sanctions imposed on Russia by the United States and the European Union. The goal was to create a domestic payment system that would reduce Russia's reliance on international payment systems and protect it from potential disruptions in the global financial system.
Similar to RuPay, Mir is a domestic payment system that offers debit cards for cash withdrawals and payment transactions. The Mir card is widely accepted in Russia and is gradually gaining acceptance in Central Asia.
Both RuPay and Mir offer lower transaction fees compared to international payment networks, making them more affordable for users. They also promote financial inclusion by offering payment services to users who may not have access to traditional banking services.
The Western sanctions on Moscow mean that some Russian banks are excluded from the SWIFT network, which is used by thousands of financial institutions.
Visa and Mastercard also suspended their operations in Russia, joining a growing list of international companies refusing to do business with Moscow in a bid to further isolate its sanctions-hit economy.