A Chinese company claims licence to print Indian currency: report
14 August 2018
A Chinese company claims to have won contracts for currency production in countries that include India, according to Chinese media reports. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), however, dismissed such claims.
The article in the South China Morning Post says state-run China Banknote Printing and Minting Corporation highlights that China is printing foreign currencies on a huge scale, as Beijing seeks to increase its influence on the world economy and geopolitics.
In an article titled “Why other countries are giving China a licence to print money”, it has been highlighted that India, along with several other countries, has allowed China’s state-owned firms to print India’s currency.
“Since then, the company (China Banknote Printing and Minting Corporation) had seized the opportunities brought by the initiative (Belt and Road Initiative) and successfully won contracts for currency production projects in a number of countries including Thailand, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, India, Brazil and Poland,” the South China Morning Post quoted president of a state-owned firm involved in printing Indian currency among several others.
The article sparked a Twitter discussion with several people raising doubts on the dubious deal allowing China to print India's currency, which could have disastrous consequences for the country’s national security.
RBI has long maintained that India's currency is printed only within the country.
Congress MP Shashi Tharoor was quick to tweet that allowing China to print India's currency could have "disturbing national security implications". If true, this has disturbing national security implications. Not to mention making it easier for Pak to counterfeit. He also sought clarifications from finance minister PiyushGoyal and former finance minister Arun Jaitley.
— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) August 12, 2018
RBI Sources Refute ClaimsTerming the reports on China printing India's currency as "baseless", Subhash Chandra Garg, Secretary of Department of Economic Affairs, issued a clarification on Monday, saying that no other country is involved in printing Indian currency.
“The reports about any Chinese currency-printing corporation getting any orders for printing Indian currency notes are totally baseless. Indian currency notes are being and will be printed only in Indian government and RBI currency presses.”
Garg stated on behalf of the finance ministry.
RBI sources had clarified that the reports of licensed printing of Indian currency in the South China Morning Post were false. The central bank did not, however, dismiss chances of the Chinese state-run company forging Indian currency.
RBI is yet to make a public statement on the report.
Guisheng-led China Banknote Printing and Minting Corporation, the article claims, has seized number of opportunities for currency production projects, specifically.
Apart from India, the report cites instances of Thailand, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Brazil and Poland awarding contract to China Banknote Printing and Minting Corporation amidst a huge spike in currency demand from countries.
The report says, "most of the demand comes from participants in the Belt and Road Initiative," although India has never been and never wants to be part of China's Belt and Road initiative.
The news report claims that China sees printing foreign currencies as an opportunity to increase Beijing's "influence on the world economy and geopolitics".
According to the South China Morning Post report, China "did not print foreign currency until recently". However, that changed in 2013 with Beijing launching the belt and road plan, involving about 60 countries from Asia, Europe to Africa. "Since then the company had “seized the opportunities brought by the initiative” and “successfully won contracts for currency production projects in a number of countries..." the report says.
"Some governments have asked Beijing not to publicise the deal because they are worried such information could compromise national security or trigger “unnecessary debates at home", the report quotes a person as saying.