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Maldives is set to introduce India’s RuPay service, a move that a senior minister has indicated will strengthen the Maldivian rufiyaa (MVR). RuPay, developed by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), is India’s premier global card payment network with extensive acceptance at ATMs, POS devices, and e-commerce websites across the country.

Minister of Economic Development and Trade Mohamed Saeed announced the upcoming launch, highlighting its potential benefits. “The introduction of India’s RuPay service is anticipated to bolster the Maldivian rufiyaa,” Saeed said on state-run PSM News on Wednesday. He stressed that addressing the dollar issue and reinforcing the MVR is a top priority for the current administration. However, no specific date for the launch has been provided.

Last week, reported that Minister Saeed mentioned the card would be “formally utilised for transactions denominated in rupees within Maldivian territory.” He also revealed ongoing discussions with India to explore payment facilitation in rupees.

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This move aligns with an India-Maldives joint statement from the official visit of then-President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih to India in August 2022.

The statement noted both leaders welcomed efforts to operationalise the use of RuPay cards in the Maldives and agreed to consider further measures to enhance bilateral travel, tourism, and economic connections.

In recent years, several international banks and payment companies have partnered with NPCI International Payments Ltd (NIPL), the international arm of NPCI, to facilitate UPI and RuPay services globally.

Despite these financial advancements, diplomatic relations between the Maldives and India have been strained since pro-China President Mohamed Muizzu assumed office last November. Tensions escalated earlier this month when the Maldives repatriated over 80 Indian military personnel manning three aviation platforms, a move that has impacted bilateral ties negatively.

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