The Centre on Monday denied reports that a Chinese corporation had been granted a contract to print Indian currency, ANI reported.

Secretary of Department of Economic Affairs Subash Chandra Garg said the report in the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post was “totally baseless”. The daily had claimed that China was printing foreign currency on a massive scale in an effort to step up its influence in the world economy.

“Indian currency notes are being [and] will be printed only in Indian government and RBI currency presses,” Garg told ANI.

The South China Morning Post report quoted “multiple sources” in the China Banknote Printing and Minting Corporation as saying that currency presses across the country “were running at near full capacity to meet an unusually high quota set by the government this year.”

The report claimed that most of the demand is from members of the Belt and Road Initiative. In recent years, the China Banknote Printing and Minting Corporation “seized the opportunities brought by the 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 Aam Aadmi Party sought the Centre’s clarification on the matter on Monday. The party’s national spokesperson, Raghav Chadha, termed it a “big threat to India’s national security” and “financial sovereignty”, reported Hindustan Times. Chadha asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi why this information was not available in the public domain.

“What were the reasons behind approaching a foreign firm instead of assigning someone domestically?” Chadha asked. “Was India approached by China, and did we succumb to pressure from them in their bid to increase their global influence?”

Congress leaders Shashi Tharoor and Randeep Singh Surjewala said such a move, if true, will have national security implications. “Not to mention making it easier for Pakistan to counterfeit,” Tharoor tweeted.