China-backed AIIB eyes India infrastructure push


NEW DELHI • India’s backlog of infrastructure projects and institutional capability means it has more “shovel-ready” projects to fund than any other South Asian country, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank’s (AIIB) president said in an interview.

The AIIB, a multilateral investment bank proposed by China that started operations in 2016, has already approved funding for roughly US$1 billion (RM3.92 billion) worth of projects in India and considering around US$1 billion more. That includes a US$200 million investment in New Delhi’s National Infrastructure Investment Fund, said Jin Liqun.

“It’s quite natural for this bank to have a large exposure to India,” Jin told Bloomberg News. “The need is there and

institutional capability of India is higher than other countries. So, it’s easier for India to be ready to provide us with shovel-ready projects to finance.”

The focus in India, the bank’s biggest borrower, has been on rural roads, mass transit and power projects. The bank is currently proposing to fund a metro rail system in Mumbai, rural road construction in the state of Madhya Pradesh, and irrigation and flood control projects in West Bengal.

But the bank would like to seek a better investment balance across South and South-East Asia, Jin said.

The AIIB will also work with other multilateral development banks such as the Asian Development Bank and World Bank, Jin said. — Bloomberg