India, 56 members join as founding members of China-led AIIB

India, 56 members join as founding members of China-led AIIBBEIJING: India and many influential western nations are among the 57 founding members of the USD 50 billion Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), while the US and Japan stayed away from the China-backed multilateral lender, according to the final list of members released today.

Though the deadline for founding membership application has expired, the bank will continue to accept new members, as the AIIB is an open and inclusive multilateral development bank, China’s Vice Finance Minister Shi Yaobin said.

Backing the Chinese initiative, India was one of the first countries to have signed up for the bank expected to offer stiff competition to other financial institutions such as the World Bank, the IMF and the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

The 57 prospective founding members cover five regions, including Asia, Oceania, Europe, Latin America and Africa, Shi said.

The AIIB is the first Asian bank to have a new banking system that is independent of the dominance of founding member-states of the international Bretton Woods system.

Countries that have been accepted as founding members of the AIIB include China, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, the Maldives, Britain, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands and Spain.

The US and Japan have abstained from joining the AIIB, but expressed their cooperation.

Although Taiwan was rejected as a founding member of the AIIB, Ma Xiaotian, spokesman for the State Council Taiwan Affairs Office, said at a press conference today that the mainland would consider “constructive opinions from all sides” regarding Taiwan’s identity as a member, Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported. Ma said: “Through practical consultations, solutions will be found for Taiwan to join the bank with an appropriate identity.”

China considers Taiwan as part of its territory and opposed to any country recognizing it.

Founding members of the AIIB have the right to help define the bank’s rules, while countries that applied to join after March 31 will be considered members with voting rights but will have less say in the rule-making process, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

The AIIB will provide financial assistance for roads, railways, airports and other infrastructure projects in Asia.

It is expected to be established by the end of this year.

The MoU of the Beijing-headquartered bank specifies that the authorized capital of AIIB will be USD 100 billion with an initial subscribed capital of USD 50 billion.

Together with BRICS Development Bank, which will have USD 50 billion investment capital and USD 40 billion Silk Road Fund, the AIIB is expected to boost financing for infrastructure projects in Asia.–PTI

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