Indian billionaire tones down after calling USD 'financial terrorist'
The richest banker in Asia says that he "inadvertently" used that description when he meant something broader.
After calling the US dollar "the biggest financial terrorist in the world" earlier, Indian billionaire and CEO of financial giant Kotak Mahindra Bank has made some distance from his remarks.
"I genuinely feel that the biggest financial terrorist in the world is the US dollar. All our money is in nostro accounts and somebody in the US can say — you cannot withdraw it from tomorrow morning — and you are stuck. That is the power of the reserve currency," Uday Kotak said at a panel discussion at the ET Awards for Corporate Excellence 2023 in New Delhi.
But on Sunday, Kotak toned down his statement, saying that he "inadvertently" used the words "financial terrorist," adding that he meant with his statement that "a reserve currency has disproportionate power, whether it is nostro account, 500 bps rate increase, or emerging countries holding [US dollars] for liquidity."
In a recent discussion on US$ I inadvertently used words “financial terrorist” which I would like to correct. What I meant was that a reserve currency has disproportionate power, whether it is nostro account, 500 bps rate increase, or emerging countries holding $ for liquidity.— Uday Kotak (@udaykotak) April 30, 2023
The world currently is "desperately looking for an alternative reserve currency," and the time is right for the Indian rupee to replace the USD as the new safe haven currency, he also said at the New Delhi conference.
India should start by developing "a strong framework that is not dependent on the whims and fancies of anyone," and must also prepare that it could take as long as a decade to fulfill the plan.
Kato expressed doubts that China, Europe, the UK, or Japan will replace the USD as a reserve note.
The Indian government, hoping to promote exports, approved in November 2022 of using the rupee in international trade.
The commerce and industry ministry said then that the reforms were introduced to facilitate international trade settlements, as the local currency is garnering more interest worldwide.