India-Singapore Current Affairs - 2019

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BHIM UPI goes global: Demonstrated at Singapore FinTech Festival

As a first step towards internationalization, a global pilot demo of BHIM UPI QR-based payments began on 13 November 2019 with a live transaction at merchant terminal at the Singapore FinTech Festival 2019. The Indian contingent with participation of 43 companies and start-ups was one of the largest at Singapore FinTech Festival 2019 being held between 11 and 15 November.

Background: In May 2018 Prime Minister Narendra Modi suggested the launch of BHIM UPI QR code-based payments internationally after launching RuPay International card and SBI’s UPI based remittance app in Singapore, as an achievement for fintech cooperation between India and Singapore.

Key Highlights

This is the first time that BHIM app has gone international and the first transaction under the pilot run was demonstrated by Jawed Ashraf, High Commissioner of India to Singapore.

The project is being jointly developed by National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) and Singapore’s Network for Electronic Transfers (NETS). This QR code-based system would allow anyone with a BHIM app to scan Singapore Quick Response Code (SGQR) at NETS terminals in Singapore for payments.

The project is targeted to go fully live by February 2020 and cover thousands of terminals in Singapore, after Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI’s) approval. Moreover, by February 2020, it is also expected that all RuPay cards, including domestic ones, will be acceptable in Singapore.

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was also inked between Trade Promotion Council of India (TPCI) and Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) for working towards access of TPCI dashboard to Business sans Borders (BSB).

What is Business sans Borders (BSB)?

It is a hub for connecting trade platforms of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and is currently running a pilot with SMEs in Southeast Asia and India. It is a project conceived by Monetary Authority of Singapore and Singapore’s Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA). Once BSB is fully rolled out, it will allow millions of SMEs across region to reach a wider market domestically and internationally and access ancillary services such as credit facilities, logistics, insurance, as well as legal and professional services. Currently, The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), is already connected to BSB through a platform provided by Mastercard GlobalLinker. CAIT have about 70 million traders in India as its members.

Bold Kurukshetra–2019

Bold Kurukshetra–2019, Joint Military Exercise of India and Singapore was inaugurated at Babina Cantonment of Jhansi. The joint exercise is aimed at developing military technology, enhance the maritime security and bolster the nations’ fight against terrorism.

India-Singapore Defence Cooperation

In November 2017, India and Singapore had entered into an official agreement to strengthen defence ties between their respective armed forces. As per the agreement, personnel from the Singapore Armed Forces will receive training and undertake firing exercises along with the Indian Armed Forces.

Both India and Singapore have also agreed to step up intelligence and information sharing in maritime security, especially in the field of counter-terrorism, and agreed to expand collaboration on submarine safety and rescue.