ICS Analysis

Unravelling the Micro-History of the Bank of China in India

Vijay Gokhale, Foreign Secretary to the Government of India, in his briefing with the media after the Modi – Xi Jinping meeting in Qingdao, said that China is to open up its first branch of the Bank of China in Bombay (Indian Express 2018). This was celebrated as a major takeaway from the talks between the two leaders. The next day all the major newspapers in India gave importance to this particular development- the green signal to the opening of the first branch of the Bank of China in Bombay.  What has been left out of these media reports is that this is not the first instance of the Bank of China operating from Indian soil. This article aims to bring to light that the recent foray of Chinese banks in India, especially the Bank of China is not a singular phenomenon and it is certainly not the first instance in modern history. Multiple branches of the Bank of China operated in undivided India during the Second World War. This article will attempt to show how the official dispensation in British India saw the increase in the operations of the Bank of China in India and whether in contemporary times, we could draw parallels from this particular case.



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