China is looking to boost investments in infrastructure and telecom projects in India, as Chinese companies look to new markets amid continuing uncertainties in the West, top Chinese officials said here on Wednesday.
Chen Yuan, the head of the powerful China Development Bank (CDB), said the bank, which was already involved in $4.4-billion worth of projects, was keen to expand its engagement in India.
“Our loan exposure in India is $4.4 billion, mostly in infrastructure, telecoms and roads,” he said. “The CDB has had a resident country team in India since 2007, and our cooperation with India has been very important. We look forward to increasing this.”
Mr. Chen, speaking on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit, said the bank was turning its focus to South and Central Asia. On Wednesday, representatives from the six member-countries — China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan — took forward talks on setting up a regional development bank.
“The consensus was that the inter-bank association should support real economic growth,” he said, to play a role to “fuel the shift in the growth model and economic rebalancing” in the region.
The CDB, he said, had $219.6 billion in outstanding loans overseas.
The bank, he noted, began its overseas engagement in the SCO region.
“As an observer state for the SCO, we look forward to an increasing role played by India,” he added.
India, on Wednesday, courted Chinese investment in infrastructure projects, with External Affairs Minister S. M. Krishna assuring Chinese Vice-Premier Li Keqiang in talks that India was “willing to create a level playing field and total transparency in terms of international bidding, evaluation and then ultimately decision-making.”
India also pressed on China the need to address the record imbalance, which rose to $27 billion last year. Trade reached $74 billion, with China becoming India’s biggest trade partner.
“Vice-Premier Li was positive in his response,” Mr. Krishna said. “He said that the Chinese government is encouraging Chinese companies to invest in India, especially in infrastructure. He agreed that for trade to be sustainable, it has to be balanced.”by Ananth Krishnan The Hindu