India Denies Security Clearance to Bank of China, Suspicions of PLA Leverage over Its Operations

According to a report from India’s The Telegraph, citing sources in the Union Home Ministry, the Indian government has denied a security clearance to the Bank of China (BoC), a decision that could prevent the Chinese bank from opening its first branch office in the country.

The Home Ministry originally supported the BoC when it announced its plans in July 2016 to open such an office, but recently denied the application due to concerns over the ownership structure of the bank and the potential leverage over its operations that is reportedly held by China’s Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) — stemming from reported investments in the bank.

It has been noted that the State Bank of India has, itself, not been cleared in a similar application — launched around the same time as BoC — to open a branch office in China.  This, along with other issues of disagreement between Beijing and New Delhi, such as Beijing’s advancement of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) through disputed Kashmir, could be outside factors in these decisions.