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The International Ascent of the Indian Rupee: 10 Things You Must Know

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India’s journey towards internationalizing its currency, the rupee, is a significant step in its economic evolution. With the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) spearheading this initiative, several questions arise regarding the plan’s implications, benefits, and challenges. Here, we answer ten essential questions to illuminate this pivotal development.

1. What is the Indian Rupee Internationalisation Plan?

The Indian Rupee Internationalization Plan is an initiative by the RBI to increase the global usage of the Indian rupee (INR) for international trade and finance. It involves promoting the rupee for import and export trade, other current account transactions, and capital account transactions.

2. Why is India pursuing this plan?

The rationale behind the internationalization of the Indian rupee is multifaceted. It is closely linked with India’s economic progress and increased global integration in trade and capital flows. The growth in foreign exchange reserves and India’s status as one of the fastest-growing large economies bolster the potential for the Indian rupee to become an internationalized currency.

We have a fantastic case study in the form of the United States. The country wields significant global influence due to the popularity of the US dollar (USD). Here are some key points:

  1. Reserve Currency Status: The USD is the world’s primary reserve currency. Central banks and international institutions hold substantial USD reserves, which provides the US with leverage in global financial markets.
  2. Trade and Finance: Most international trade transactions are conducted in USD. Commodities like oil are priced in USD, reinforcing its dominance. Additionally, global financial markets heavily rely on USD-denominated assets, such as US Treasury bonds and corporate debt.
  3. Financial System Infrastructure: The USD’s prominence is strengthened by the robustness of the US financial system, including Wall Street, major banks, and the New York Stock Exchange. These institutions facilitate global capital flows and investment.
  4. Geopolitical Influence: The USD’s status is intertwined with US geopolitical power. It allows the US to impose sanctions, influence international policies, and shape global economic norms.

3. What are the recommendations of the RBI panel?

The RBI panel has made several recommendations, including enabling external commercial rupee borrowings, promoting Indian rupee invoicing in international trade, and establishing Rupee Vostro accounts for banks from select countries. These measures aim to facilitate trade with about 18 countries in rupees.

4. What are the benefits of Indian rupee internationalization?

Internationalizing the rupee can reduce transaction costs, lower hedging expenses, and enhance ease of doing business. It can also help mitigate the risks of exchange rate volatility and contribute to a more balanced international monetary system. It also protects the economy from geopolitical backlashes. For example, as tension between the USA and Russia rose, the country stopped accepting US Dollars for trade

It caused a substantial global fuel crisis as Russia controls 9% of international crude oil exports. This led to an increase in the global fuel prices for all those countries that trade in just dollars. In such situations, an international currency becomes a game changer as diplomatic disputes amongst other nations don’t affect it, and at times, it can be profitable.

Looking back at the same example, most of Russia’s fuel was sitting in reserves due to new trade policies. India could save a lot of money by purchasing oil in Rubles, making the price equal to $60 per barrel, while Middle Eastern oil costs $150 per barrel.

5. What challenges does the plan face?

Despite the potential benefits, the internationalization of the rupee faces challenges such as the need for widespread acceptance, competition from established currencies, and the complexities of integrating with the global financial system. There are also macroeconomic risks that need to be managed carefully.

6. What are the macroeconomic risks associated with rupee internationalization?

The macroeconomic risks include potential volatility in exchange rates and capital flows. There’s also the risk of losing monetary policy autonomy if the rupee becomes widely used internationally, as the RBI would need to consider global impacts when making policy decisions.

7. What initiatives have been taken towards rupee internationalization?

Initiatives include establishing bilateral swap arrangements, enabling foreign investors to invest in rupee-denominated bonds, and introducing the Rupee Vostro accounts to facilitate trade with select countries.

8. How will rupee internationalization impact India’s trade relations?

The internationalization of the Indian rupee can strengthen trade relations by reducing dependency on other major currencies like the USD insert period. This could significantly reduce transaction costs and exchange rate risks for India’s trading partners.

9. What should be the future course of action for successful rupee internationalization?

The future course of action should include further liberalization of financial markets, ensuring stable macroeconomic conditions, and promoting the rupee’s use in international transactions through diplomatic and trade agreements.

10. How does India’s rupee internationalization compare with other countries’ experiences?

India can learn from the experiences of countries like China, which has made significant strides in internationalizing its renminbi currency. However, India’s approach must be tailored to its unique economic and geopolitical context.

In conclusion, the internationalization of the Indian rupee represents a bold and strategic move towards enhancing India’s economic stature on the global stage. While it is a path with its set of challenges, the potential rewards make it a pursuit worth undertaking for the long-term benefit of the nation’s economy and global partnerships.


  1. What is the Rupee Internationalisation Plan? 

    The Rupee Internationalisation Plan is an initiative by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to increase the use of the Indian rupee (INR) in international trade and finance. This includes promoting the rupee for import/export transactions and other financial dealings on a global scale.

  2. Why is India pursuing the internationalization of the rupee? 

    India is pursuing this plan to enhance its economic stature and integrate more deeply into the global economy. The move is supported by India’s growing foreign exchange reserves and its status as a rapidly expanding economy. The plan is inspired by the global influence of the US dollar, which benefits from being the world’s primary reserve currency, dominating international trade, and is supported by a robust financial infrastructure.

  3. What recommendations has the RBI panel made for this plan? 

    The RBI panel recommends enabling external commercial borrowings in rupees, promoting rupee invoicing for international trade, and setting up Rupee Vostro accounts for banks from select countries. These steps are designed to facilitate rupee-based trade with approximately 18 countries.

  4. What are the benefits of internationalizing the rupee? 

    Benefits include reduced transaction costs, lower hedging expenses, and a more straightforward business process. Internationalized currencies also offer protection against geopolitical risks, such as those experienced during the US-Russia tensions that led to a global fuel crisis. An internationalized currency can shield an economy from diplomatic disputes and potentially offer financial advantages, as seen when India saved on oil purchases by trading in rubles.

  5. What challenges does the rupee internationalization plan face?

    The plan faces several challenges, including the need for widespread acceptance of the rupee as a trade currency, establishing the necessary financial infrastructure, and managing the risks associated with currency fluctuations. India’s ability to address these challenges and promote the rupee on the world stage will determine its success.

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I’m Archana R. Chettiar, an experienced content creator with
an affinity for writing on personal finance and other financial content. I
love to write on equity investing, retirement, managing money, and more.

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