Sitharman’s comments were part of the fifth annual meeting of the board of governors of the AIIB, which she attended virtually on Tuesday.
The finance minister led a roundtable discussion on the theme ‘AIIB 2030-Supporting Asia’s Development over the Next Decade’, during which she spoke about India’s initiative of creating a Covid-19 Emergency Fund for SAARC nations.
Sitharaman also highlighted India’s participation in the ‘G20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative’, which involved a moratorium on debt servicing from the poorer nations to support their pandemic response.
She also noted that India’s National Infrastructure Pipeline, with an estimated expenditure of $1.4 trillion till 2025, created a plethora of fresh investment opportunities for AIIB’s partnerships.
In June, the AIIB approved an additional $750 million loan to strengthen India’s Covid-19 response. This, in addition to the $500 million package co-financed by the World Bank under its COVID-19 Crisis Recovery Facility (CRF) took AIIB’s total support to India to $1.25 billion under the CRF.
The multilateral lender initially set up its Covid-19 CRF, with a $5 billion investment which was later doubled to $10 billion, to make funds available to its members for urgent economic, financial and public health pressures and quick recovery from the crisis.
The minister commended the AIIB management for the healthy growth the bank achieved in the five years since its establishment.