The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), which counts China and India as its two biggest shareholders, does not see any adverse impact of the Doklam stand-off and will keep supporting projects in the country, a top official said today. “We don’t take a view on those things. Those are matters between sovereign states. We are an international institution,” the Beijing-based banks’ vice-president and corporate secretary Danny Alexander told PTI here. “Many of our members have disputes with one another and those disputes do not stop us from working effectively with each of our members. They have no effect on projects that we consider, they have no effect on the way we do our business,” he added. He was answering a specific query on the impact of the over two-months-old Doklam impasse and assertive play by both New Delhi and Beijing, on its activities. China is the biggest shareholder in the AIIB started as an alternative to the Bretton Woods Institutions, while India is the second biggest owner with 8 percent of shareholding. Alexander said the January 2016-started AIIB has a policy of not supporting projects in disputed areas.
On China’s One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative from which New Delhi is standing out, he said many of AIIB’s member-countries have “outward looking policies to improve connectivity with their neighbours” and named China, India, Russia and Turkey among the nation states with such policies. Alexander, however, evaded a direct reply on whether the frosty ties shared by two of its biggest shareholders pose an existential threat to the bank. He said the bank’s objective is to support infrastructure projects “free from politics”. “It is very important as an international institution that we don’t get drawn into local or regional political issues and focus on doing our jobs to the highest standards. No politics, it is the project that counts,” he said.
On the bogey of banning Chinese goods fast catching up domestically, Alexander said the AIIB leaves the sourcing to the borrowing entity but wants a fair and open bidding for supplies in each of the projects it supports. “It’s never a good idea in interviews to answer hypothetical questions,” he said, when asked about its stance in a possible scenario of some actions being taken. He did not agree to the premise of the question when asked if the strained ties between New Delhi and Beijing are making the former go in for alternatives like Jica, saying given the infra needs, many opportunities exist for a multilateral institution in the country.
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Alexander said the AIIB has made a commitment of $638 million to three projects in the country, which includes $150-million in an equity investment in an infrastructure fund promoted by Morgan Stanley. It has a good pipeline of projects, he said, saying one of the extensions of Mumbai and Bengaluru metros are on the radar.