AIIB to look at India’s project proposals from ‘economic view’

The China-backed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) will function as an “apolitical” institution and will continue to support projects in India, which has received the most funding of any country from the bank, its president Jin Liqun said on Wednesday.

India, which was among the AIIB’s 57 founding members in 2016 and is also its second-largest shareholder (with 7.62% voting shares) after China (26.06%), has received $4.35 billion from the Beijing-headquartered bank.

This is the highest of any country, with the bank so far approving loans of $19.6 billion to support 87 projects in 24 countries, the South China Morning Post reported. Turkey was second with $1.95 billion.

Mr. Jin, who was on Wednesday re-elected as the bank’s president for a second five-year term, said the bank would remain an “apolitical institution” and continue to back projects in India, the newspaper reported, quoting him as saying “the management will look at the proposed projects from the economic and financial point of view” and not with a political view.

“I think it’s very much important for us to provide support to India through other means,” he said. “India is a country with a great capacity for implementation of the projects … we can do different kinds of projects to help this country.”

The latest loan for India was for $750 million, to support vulnerable households impacted by COVID-19, approved on June 17, two days after the clash in Galwan Valley in Ladakh along the India-China border.

While India joined the AIIB, which has functioned as a multilateral institution since its founding, it has stayed away from President Xi Jinping’s signature Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which India views as a national initiative of China. The bank has supported several projects under the BRI framework, but is not formally linked to the plan. The idea for the AIIB was first proposed by Mr. Xi in 2013.

Addressing the bank’s annual meeting in Beijing on Tuesday, Mr. Xi said the bank’s influence was expanding, with its membership almost doubling in the three years since its launch, to 102 countries.

“With more good friends and partners getting on board for higher-quality cooperation, the AIIB has established itself in the world as a new type of professional, efficient and clean multilateral development bank,” he said, describing the launching of the bank as “a constructive move” that would “enable China to undertake more international obligations, promote improvement of the current international economic system and provide more international public goods.”

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Printable version | Feb 28, 2021 10:22:44 AM |

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