RBI Relocates 100 Tonnes of Gold from UK to Indian Vaults

Largest Relocation Since 1991

In a significant move, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has transferred a little over 100 tonnes of gold from the United Kingdom (UK) to its vaults in India. This marks the largest such relocation since the early 1990s, reflecting the central bank's strategic adjustments in gold storage. 

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According to a report by The Times of India (TOI), this move aims to enhance logistical efficiency and diversify storage locations.

Current Gold Holdings

As of the end of March, the RBI's total gold reserves stood at 822.1 tonnes, with 413.8 tonnes held overseas. Over the past fiscal year, the RBI added 27.5 tonnes to its reserves, demonstrating its proactive approach to strengthening its gold holdings. This addition places the RBI among the central banks that have actively increased their gold reserves in recent years.

Historical Context and Strategic Rationale

The Bank of England has historically served as a key repository for gold held by various central banks, including India's pre-Independence gold holdings. The decision to relocate a significant portion of these reserves to India is rooted in the RBI's ongoing review of its storage strategies, prompted by increasing global reserves and logistical considerations.

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Gold holds particular significance for India, especially since the Chandra Shekhar government's pledge of gold in 1991 to resolve a balance of payments crisis. This recent move symbolizes India's improved economic resilience and strategic autonomy.

Operational and Logistical Considerations

The transfer of nearly a quarter of India's total gold holdings required meticulous planning and coordination among various government agencies, including the RBI, the finance ministry, and local authorities. The operation, spanning several months, involved obtaining customs duty exemptions for the gold import, while integrated GST was still applicable as it is a state-shared tax.

To ensure the safe transportation of this substantial gold consignment, a specially chartered aircraft with stringent security measures was employed.

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Domestic Storage Facilities

Within India, the RBI stores its gold in highly secure vaults located in Nagpur and the former RBI headquarters building on Mint Road in Mumbai. These facilities are equipped to handle large quantities of gold, ensuring that the precious metal remains under robust protection.


The RBI's relocation of 100 tonnes of gold from the UK to India signifies a strategic shift in managing the nation's gold reserves. This move enhances logistical efficiency, reduces storage costs, and reinforces India's economic sovereignty. As the RBI continues to strengthen its gold holdings, this action reflects a broader trend among central banks to diversify and secure their reserves in a dynamic global economy

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