URJIT Patel, the former governor of India’s central bank – the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) – has been appointed as a vice president of Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), a multilateral funding institution based in Beijing, China, sources in the bank said on Sunday (9).
India is a founding member of AIIB with the second-highest voting share after China. The bank is headed by Jin Liqun, a former Chinese vice minister for finance.
Patel, 58, will be one of the five vice presidents of the AIIB with a three-year tenure. He is likely to take over the office in February.
Patel, who served as the 24th RBI governor between September 2016 and December 2018 succeeding Raghuram Rajan, will succeed outgoing vice president D J Pandian, who is in charge of sovereign and non-sovereign lending of the AIIB in South Asia, the Pacific Islands and South-east Asia, the bank sources told the Press Trust of India.
Pandian had previously served as the chief secretary of the western state of Gujarat and is set to return to India later in January. Patel resigned as the RBI governor in December 2018 “on account of personal reasons” saying “I have decided to step down from my current position effective immediately”.
Before he became the governor of India’s central bank, Patel was a deputy governor overseeing the monetary policy department at the RBI under his predecessor Rajan and was known as his “inflation warrior”.
Patel also worked with the International Monetary Fund, Boston Consulting Group and Reliance Industries, among other organisations.
His appointment to AIIB is considered a significant development as India has emerged as its biggest beneficiary by obtaining $6.7 billion (£4.9 billion) in funding for 28 projects, Pandian said at his farewell luncheon on Saturday (8).
The AIIB, along with the Asian Development Bank in the Philippines, is also processing a loan worth $2 billion (£1.4 billion) for India to buy vaccines to fight coronavirus.