‘India-China conflict AIIB’s biggest test’
Addressing a symposium of the China International Finance 30 Forum in May, Jin was quoted as saying that many people in China questioned why the AIIB was continuing with its lending to India, even when the two countries were involved in a border conflict. “When the Sino-Indian border conflict occurred, the management of AIIB still adhered to international standards, and the international response was very positive. This was the first severe test of the nature of AIIB as a multilateral institution,” he added.
In an informal translation of the speech by close observers of China and its internal systems, Jin was quoted as saying, “Our enterprises can’t get in even if they want to go in, why shouldn’t the AIIB make the loans? Besides, the funds are not given to India for nothing, India has to repay the principal and interest. Some others thought, why do you have to provide loans to India at that time?”
India is the largest borrower from the AIIB, but the bank, while a multilateral financial institution, has a Chinese veto. By the sheer size of its economy, China’s shareholding is 30.77%, which translates into 26.57% of the vote. The AIIB currently provides a lending hand to about 42 infrastructure projects in India. Jin also stressed that with China’s growing power, the US would have to eventually “accept the reality of China’s rise”.
“Of course, this is a painful process for the United States. Our leader made an important statement: Big countries should behave in a manner befitting their status (or a big country should look like a big country). Although there was no name-calling, the meaning is clear. This sentence is a warning to some country/countries,” Jin said in one of the more clear articulations from China of the inevitability of the power shift from Washington to Beijing. The way Jin put it, a powerful China will not rock the western boat or the ‘Washington consensus’, instead, it seeks to play a smaller part.