India is printing currency notes in China, says a newspaper report. Quoting Liu Guisheng, president of the China Banknote Printing and Minting Corporation, the South China Morning Post reported that India figures among a few other countries which print their respective currencies in China.
The Opposition was quick to seek a clarification from the government with Congress leader Shashi Tharoor in a tweet asking Union ministers Arun Jaitley and Piyush Goyal to clarify.
“If true, this has disturbing national security implications. Not to mention making it easier for Pak to counterfeit,” Tharoor tweeted as he quoted another tweet carrying the link to the South China Morning Post report.
An email sent to the Reserve Bank of India seeking clarification in this regard remained unanswered till the time of going to press. An official on condition of anonymity said the report was incorrect.
A host of countries, including India, have contracts with the Chinese government for printing of currency notes, says the report.
According to the newspaper, Liu said in 2015 Nepal became the first country to outsource currency printing to China, after which contracts were won from countries including India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Malaysia, Brazil, and Poland. China recently started printing foreign currency, primarily after the launch of its Belt and Road Initiative in 2013.
Quoting multiple sources in the China Banknote Printing and Minting Corporation, the paper said these plants were “running at near full capacity to meet an unusually high quota set by the government this year.”
Chinese yuan bills accounted for only a small portion of these orders, it said, adding that most of the orders were from countries that have partnered China in its ‘Belt and Road Initiative’.
India recently pulled out of the Belt and Road Initiative with prime minister Narendra Modi asserting that any mega connectivity project must respect sovereignty and territorial integrity of countries.
Getting notes printed from China has become popular among developing countries since the sophisticated and costly technology needed for the metallic ribbon, embedded thread, and colour-shifting ink is beyond their reach. China can provide these services at relatively lower costs.
China is currently the only country that can perform the Intaglio style of printing, which involves raising the print simultaneously on both sides of a banknote. In 2015, Chinese researchers came up with a holographic feature called ColorDance to improve a note’s security.