The government on Monday rejected reports that a Chinese company has won a contract to print Indian currency.
"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," Subash Chandra Garg, Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
A Chinese daily has claimed that a company there has been given the licence to print Indian currency. Terming the revelation as a "big threat to India''s national security" and "financial sovereignty", the AAP government had sought a clarification from the Centre.
"What were the reasons behind approaching a foreign firm instead of assigning someone domestically? Was India approached by China, and did we succumb to pressure from them in their bid to increase their global influence?" Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) national spokesperson Raghav Chadha asked.
The South China Morning Post, a Chinese financial news publication, has reported that a Chinese state-owned company, China Banknote Printing and Minting Corporation, has been contracted to print large quantities of international currencies including that of India.
In the report, the President of the China Banknote Printing and Minting Corporation, Liu Guisheng, was quoted as saying that his company has "successfully won contracts for currency production projects in a number of countries including Thailand, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, India, Brazil and Poland."
Congress leader Randeep Surjewala also referred to the report and said that the report, if true, poses "grave breach of National Security".
Is 'China Banknote Printing and Minting Corporation' printing currency for Nepal,Bangladesh,Sri lanka?- Randeep Singh Surjewala (@rssurjewala) August 13, 2018
Is this Dragon's new design to engulf South East Asia?
Have the Chinese been given a contract to print Indian currency notes?
If so, it's a grave breach of National Security. https://t.co/YicRkNtITc
Referring to the report, Mr Chadha said that an undisclosed source was quoted as saying that 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 AAP leader opined that in the light of recent hostilities between the two nations, this could lead to some "serious strategic disadvantages for India".
The report claims that despite domestic currency demand being at its lowest, China Banknote Printing and Minting Corporation has been "functioning at full capacity to deliver on international contracts".
It also states that while there was not much work until last year, there has been a sudden jump in production.
"If the intent was to move towards a cashless economy, what is the objective of rolling out new currency for Rs10? Who is the beneficiary of the expense at which the printing is being pursued?" Mr Chadha asked.
"Another suspicious aspect of this deal is how it negates our fight against counterfeit currency. This action puts us in a vulnerable position. Will this not create more avenues for international parties for counterfeiting?" he added.
(with additional inputs from agencies)