AIIB funds for OBOR projects: GoI refuses to spell out stance

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Mumbai: New Delhi today declined to spell out its stance on a possible funding of a project linked to Beijing’s ambitious One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative by the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).
“These things (loan proposals) are discussed at the board level and the final decision is taken keeping all interests and viewpoints in mind. We don’t make our stand outside the boardroom,” interim Finance Minister Piyush Goyal told reporters here.
The minister was replying to a specific question on the government stance if a proposal for funding to a project linked to the OBOR initiative comes up before the AIIB.
So far, no project lending proposal linked to the OBOR has come up for funding before the AIIB, where China is the biggest owner with 31 per cent stake, economic affairs secretary SC Garg added.
India, the second largest shareholder of AIIB with an 8 per cent stake, has been opposed to the OBOR, which is building transcontinental roads, railways and ports.
Government is specifically concerned about the USD 57 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) that passes through the Pakistan-Occupied-Kashmir and is fully funded by Beijing under the OBOR.
Reminding that the AIIB has 86 member-countries, Garg said no one should feel that the bank “belongs to a particular country” and pointed out that there have not been any OBOR- linked projects that have come up for lending at the multilateral body.
“In a way, it might be as Chinese as the World Bank is American. We’ve not seen any OBOR project specifically funded by AIIB,” Garg said, but adding quickly that New Delhi has an issue with the OBOR.
“The AIIB is a multilateral development bank. It is as much an Indian bank as it is a Chinese or British bank,” AIIB vice-president and corporate secretary Danny Alexander told reporters.
He further said no project will be financed unless it meets the laid-down principles, which are created by all AIIB member-countries and the approval of the board is necessary for any funding.
When asked specifically if the AIIB is sympathetic to Indian concerns over the CPEC, he said, “our bank is apolitical. We don’t comment on the internal affairs of any member-country, be it India or anybody else. What drives our investments is projects, and not politics.”

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