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India seeks higher funding from AIIB to bridge infrastructure gap in Asia

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday sought higher funding for India from the Beijing-based AIIB, and said that multilateral lending is needed to bridge the infrastructure gap in the Asian region.

Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has in the past 2 years approved five projects in India envisaging total commitment of more than USD 1 billion and has a pipeline of 12 projects involving assistance of USD 3.5 billion, according to a finance ministry official.

Addressing the curtain raiser ceremony of AIIB's 3rd annual conference, Jaitley said that in the hindsight "I am glad that India decided to be a very active participant in the AIIB."

Earlier, India was debating whether it should be a part of the AIIB. India holds 7.74 per cent equity in the multilateral bank, next only to China (29.9 per cent).

Jaitley further said that the bank has started funding effectively and should contribute actively in infrastructure development of the Asian region which has suffered from lack of basic facilities.

It will also fuel growth in the region and help overcome "infrastructure deficit", he said.

The Indian government, he said, gives top priority to infrastructure development, specially in the rural areas.

AIIB, which has 84 members, started functioning in 2016.

It is will hold its third annual meeting in Mumbai on June 25 -26 and will be preceded by events in 8 cities.