08:46 GMT +315 December 2019
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    Russia Becomes Third Biggest Shareholder in China-Led AIIB

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    Russia has become the third major shareholder of the newly-minted Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), initiated by China and expected to rival Western-led financial institutions, including the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

    Moscow received almost 6 percent of voting rights in the bank, seen by many as a milestone in China's international efforts.

    As the central figure in the new institution and the largest stakeholder, China received the major share of votes (26.06 percent). India was granted 7.5 percent of voting rights. Britain, Germany and Australia are also among the founding members.

    "China's shareholding and its voting power at the establishment of the AIIB is a natural result led by the rules decided by all members," China's vice finance minister Shi Yaobin said as quoted by the Xinhua news agency.

    The $100 billion lender is an international institution designed to provide financial support to infrastructure projects in Asia. Headquartered in Beijing, the development bank is expected to begin operations in 2015.

    Fifty countries were present at the AIIB signing ceremony in Beijing's Great Hall of the People on Monday. Seven other nations, comprising Denmark, Kuwait, Malaysia, the Philippines, Poland, South Africa and Thailand, are expected to sign the articles of association later this year.

    Beijing's initiative has largely been welcomed with open arms but not everyone is happy.

    The United States and Japan are among the few countries, which decided not to join. Moreover, Washington tried to pressure several other states, including its allies, to avoid joining the development bank.

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    Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), India, China, Russia
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