China operationalises USD 40 billion Silk Road fund

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From K J M Varma Beijing, Feb 5: China has appointed top officials to manage a USD 40 billion fund to finance its most ambitious global plan - the Silk Roads and Maritime Silk Road - to build major infrastructure projects aimed to enhance its strategic influence and blunt the US' big push into Asia-Pacific.

A team headed by Wang Yanzhi, an official with China's foreign exchange regulator, has been formed to formally operate the fund announced by President Xi Jinping last year.

China operationalises Silk Road fund

Wang has been named the general manager of the fund. Jin Qi, 59, the assistant governor of the People's Bank of China, the central bank, will be the fund's chief executive, while Zhu Surong, governor of the Urumqi branch of the PBOC in the Xinjiang, will be one of the board members of the fund, state-run China Daily reported.

The fund is part of China's national strategy to revive the land-based and maritime Silk Roads by financing major infrastructure projects along the centuries-old trading routes.

It has drawn wide international attention amid publicity blitz launched by Chinese official media since last year. The fund is by far the largest amount China has ever proposed to finance multilateral projects in the Eurasian economic circle, the daily said. About 65 per cent of the fund will come from China’s USD four trillion foreign exchange reserves. China Investment Corp, the country's sovereign wealth fund, will hold 15 per cent stake in the Silk Road Fund.

Two other State-owned financial institutions - the Export-Import Bank of China and China Development Bank Capital Co - will hold the rest of the stake, the daily said. The Silk Road projects involved a maze of roads and ports connecting Asia, Europe and Africa. India, which has been invited to take part in the Bangladesh, China, India, Myanmar (BCIM) road and the Maritime Sill Road (MSR), said it will give a selective backing for the initiative.

While India is taking part in the meetings for BCIM, it is yet to give its response on MSR. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj during her just concluded visit here said India will not provide any blanket endorsement for the Silk Road plans. "We will look into our interests. Where ever our interests converge we cooperate. No blanket endorsement," she said.


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