At least 35 countries to join China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank: Interim Chief

BEIJING (Reuters) - At least 35 countries will join the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) by the deadline of March 31, the bank's interim chief, Jin Liqun, said on Sunday.

Currently, India, Indonesia and New Zealand have expressed interest in joining the bank, he told a conference in Beijing, following a request by Britain, France, Italy and Luxembourg to become founding members.

Membership of the AIIB was offered initially to Asian countries; India, Indonesia and Singapore are among the founding members.

"By deadline, (we believe) 35 countries, or more, will become founding members of the bank," said Jin.

Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund's managing director Christine Lagarde said on Sunday the IMF will be "delighted" to cooperate with the AIIB.

Lagarde added that there is "massive" room for co-operation with AIIB on infrastructure financing.

The World Bank will also cooperate with the AIIB, Lagarde told a conference in Beijing.

Her comments come after a number of countries said they would participate in the new bank slated to start operations by the end of the year, even as others raised concerns over potential competition with other lenders.

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