India has sought project financing totalling $2.40 billion from the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). Also, the Beijing-headquartered bank will invest $200 million in India’s National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF), said Subhash Chandra Garg, India’s economic affairs secretary on Sunday.
NIIF was set up in 2015 as an investment vehicle for funding commercially viable greenfield, brownfield and stalled projects in the infrastructure sector.
Speaking at a press conference before the third annual general meeting of its board of governors in Mumbai, AIIB vice president and corporate secretary, Danny Alexander said that of the $4.39 billion invested by AIIB, six Indian projects accounted for $1.21 billion.
The meeting’s venue assumes importance given that India is AIIB’s second-largest shareholder after China and has expressed its concerns over its neighbour’s ambitious ‘One Belt One Road’ (OBOR) initiative aimed at connecting around 60 countries across Asia, Africa and Europe.
India has been the largest recipient of AIIB’s funds, with the proposed projects including; Amravati capital city development, rural roads, urban water supply and sewage management projects in Andhra Pradesh. The other projects are; Mumbai metro line-4 and irrigation and flood management project in West Bengal.
Garg added that the concept for Mumbai urban transport project phase-3 has been approved, with $475 million investment proposed for the same by India.
In response to a query about apprehensions over AIIB being leveraged by China for its Belt and Road Initiative, Garg said, “With 86 member countries, I don’t think anybody should consider this belongs to any particular country. In a way it might be as Chinese as the World Bank is American….We have not seen any projects specifically funded on BRI (Belt and Road initiative), where we have an issue, so far.”
India has been critical of China developing the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), part of OBOR infrastructure initiative cutting through Gilgit and Baltistan areas of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).
“I think those concerns you mentioned which existed when the idea was first put forward, just don’t exist anymore,” Alexander said.