His Excellency Mr President,
Members of the media,
It is a great pleasure to visit Turkmenistan. I am also delighted to see Ashgabat. It stands on a once thriving trade route since ancient times. It is now a beautiful 'Ak Shaharim' or the White City. It reflects your great vision and the nation's prosperity.
Mr. President, I am very grateful to you and the people of Turkmenistan for a very warm welcome and generous hospitality.
Our long standing and deep-rooted civilisational and cultural ties are well known. It has created a sense of familiarity and goodwill between our people. It is a strong foundation of close relations between our two countries.
India attaches great importance to this relationship. There is enormous potential for cooperation between India, a nation of 1.25 billion people with a large and rapidly growing economy, and Turkmenistan, a nation rich in resources.
As India deepens its relations with Central Asia, Turkmenistan will play a crucial role in it.
We have shared interests in a peaceful and stable Afghanistan and Central Asia. We also have common purpose in combating terrorism and extremism in our region.
Connecting South and Central Asia will open up new economic opportunities in our region and beyond.
I thank Mr. President for sharing this vision and for his strong support to the relationship.
The most significant initiative in our relationship is the TAPI Gas Pipeline. This could transform regional economic cooperation and bring prosperity along the route. We welcomed the agreements between the four countries for the pipeline. We underlined the need to implement the project quickly.
I also proposed to President that we should explore multiple options, including the additional possibility of land-sea route through Iran.
I conveyed our interest in long term investment in the energy sector in Turkmenistan. We welcome the decision by ONGC Videsh Limited to open an office in Ashgabat.
We had a very positive discussion on India's interest in investment in downstream industries, including petrochemicals and fertilizer. The Memorandum of Understanding in the fertilizer sector will enable long term arrangements for supply of fertilizers from here to India.
Connectivity is an area of priority for both countries. If we use the Iran route, Ashgabat is the first capital we would reach in Central Asia.
We are grateful for Turkmenistan’s support to India joining the Ashgabat Agreement on trade and transit. I have also proposed that Turkmenistan becomes a member of the International North South Transport Corridor.
Together with the Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan-Iran rail link, and India's proposed investment in Chahbahar Port in Iran, these initiatives will strengthen connectivity between our countries.
Training and human resource development is an important area of cooperation. India will enhance its training scholarship programme. I welcome the upgrading of the Turkmen India Industrial Training Institute in Ashgabat.
The agreements on sports and tourism will deepen the contacts between our people.
Later today, I will have the pleasure of unveiling the bust of Mahatma Gandhi. It will be a reminder of our shared commitment to the cause of a peaceful, inclusive and a just world.
I am looking forward to the inauguration of the Centre of Yoga and Traditional Medicines. It is a tribute to our cultural links. It also gives us opportunities to revive our very old tradition of fruitful cooperation in traditional medicines. I also proposed to him that Ashgabat could be developed as an International Centre for Holistic Healthcare. I offered full support for it.
The defence agreement is a reflection of our shared interest in closer security cooperation, including in combating terrorism.
I am grateful to President and the people of Turkmenistan for the support in making the International Day of Yoga on June 21 a huge global success.
I congratulated the President on the 20th anniversary of the adoption of Permanent Neutrality by Turkmenistan. India acknowledges the contributions of this policy to peace and stability in Turkmenistan and the wider region.
Again, Mr. President, this has been a short but very productive visit. I am confident that our relationship will grow in strength in the coming years.
I look forward to receiving you in India, Mr. President, in the near future.
His Excellency Mr President,
My fellow citizens from the Tech and Finance world, Tens of thousands of Participants from over 70 countries,
I am delighted to inaugurate the first 'Infinity Forum' and welcome you all. 'Infinity Forum' represents the immense possibilities that Fintech has in India. It also shows the huge potential for India's Fintech to provide benefits to the entire world.
The history of currency shows tremendous evolution. As humans evolved, so did the form of our transactions. From barter system to metals, from coins to notes, from cheques to cards, today we have reached here. Earlier developments used to take decades to spread across the world but not any more in this era of globalisation .Technology is bringing a big shift in the world of finance. Last year, in India, mobile payments exceeded ATM cash withdrawals for the first time. Fully digital banks, without any physical branch offices, are already a reality and may become common-place in less than a decade.
India has proved to the world that it is second to none when it comes to adopting technology or innovating around it. Transformational initiatives under Digital India have opened doors for Fintech innovations to be applied in governance. Technology has also catalyzed financial inclusion. From less than 50% Indians having bank accounts in 2014, we have almost universalized it with 430 million Jan Dhan accounts in the last 7 years. So far, 690 million RuPay cards have been issued. RuPay cards clocked 1.3 billion transactions last year. UPI processed around 4.2 billion transactions in just last month.
Almost 300 million invoices are uploaded on the GST portal every month. More than 12 billion US dollars worth payment is done through the GST portal alone every month. Despite the pandemic, about 1.5 million railway tickets get booked online everyday. Last year, FASTag processed 1.3 billion seamless transactions. PM Svanidhi is enabling access to credit for small vendors across the country. e-RUPI has enabled targeted delivery of specified services without leakages; I can go on and on, but these are just a few examples of the scale & scope of Fintech in India.
Financial inclusion is the driver of Fintech Revolution. Fintech is resting on 4 pillars; income, investments, insurance, and institutional credit. When income grows, investment becomes possible. Insurance coverage enables greater risk taking ability and investments. Institutional credit gives wings for expansion. And we have worked on each of these pillars. When all these factors come together, you suddenly find so many more people participating in the financial sector. The large base becomes the perfect springboard for Fintech innovations. Fintech industry in India is innovating to enhance access to finance and the formal credit system to every person in the country. Now it is time to convert these fintech initiatives into a fintech revolution. A revolution that helps to achieve financial empowerment of every single citizen of the country.
As we see the widening reach of fintech, there are considerations that need attention. Fintech industry has achieved huge scale, and scale means people from all walks of life as customers. This fintech acceptability among the masses has a unique feature. That feature is trust. The common Indian has shown immense trust in our Fintech ecosystem by embracing digital payments and such technologies! This trust is a responsibility. Trust means that you need to ensure that the interests of people are secured. Fintech innovation will be incomplete without fintech security innovation.
We believe in sharing our experiences and expertise with the world and learning from them as well. Our Digital Public Infrastructure solutions can improve the lives of people around the world. Tools like UPI and RuPay provide an unparalleled opportunity for every country. An opportunity to provide a low cost and reliable 'real time payment system' as well as a 'domestic card scheme' and 'fund remittance system'.
GIFT City is not merely a premise, It represents the promise of India. It represents India's democratic values, demand, demography & diversity. It represents India's openness to ideas, innovation & investment. GIFT City is a gateway to the global fintech world. (IFSC) at GIFT City was born out of the vision that finance combined with technology would be an important part of India's future development. Our aim is to provide the best International Financial Services not just for India but for the World.
Finance is the life blood of an economy and technology is its carrier. Both are equally important for achieving ''Antyodaya and Sarvodaya''. Our flagship Infinity Forum is part of our endeavor to bring together all key stakeholders of the global Fintech Industry to explore the limitless future of the industry. I remember the conversation I had with Mr Mike Bloomberg on this subject when we last met. And I thank the Bloomberg group for their support. Infinity forum is a forum of belief, belief in the spirit of innovation and the power of imagination. Belief in the energy of youth and their passion for change. Belief in making the world a better place. Let us together, explore and advance innovative ideas in Fintech to solve the most pressing issues emerging globally.