50 nations, including India sign 60-article agreement on China-led AIIB

50 founding nations including India have signed 60-article agreement of China-led multilateral Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).

Australia was the first country to sign the agreement and was followed by 49 other members. Indian Ambassador Ashok Kantha signed the agreement on behalf of country.

The 60-article agreement provides the legal framework for

  • Institution of AIIB.
  • Each member’s capital share and voting share.
  • Governance structure of AIIB.
  • Policy-making mechanism of AIIB.

Facts about Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB)

  • Designed to finance infrastructure projects including energy, transport and infrastructure projects in Asia.
  • AIIB is seen as a rival to the World Bank and Asian Development Bank (ADB) which managed by most prominent countries like US, Japan and European etc.
  • Headquarters:Beijing. It will be operational by end of 2015.
  • Authorized capital: It will be of 100 billion US dollars. The initial subscribed capital will be around 50 billion US Dollar and the paid-in ratio will be 20 per cent.
  • Regional character of the Bank: Its regional members (Asian) will be the holding around 75 percent of shares i.e. they will be majority shareholders.
  • They have been allocated their capital share on quota basis i.e. based on their economic size.
  • Voting share: for each member country it is based on the size of their economy and not on authorised capital share to the Bank.
  • Largest shareholders: China is highest contributor to AIIB with 29.78 billion US dollars i.e. with a 30.34 percent stake in authorized capital.
  • China will have 26.06 per cent of the voting rights along with veto powers for certain key decisions.
  • India: second largest shareholder with 8.52 per cent stake and voting share of 7.5 per cent.
  • Russia: third largest shareholder with 6.66 stake and voting share of 5.92 per cent.

It should be noted that there are 57 founder-member countries AIIB. Seven countries were not able to sign this agreement as it was not ratified by their respective domestic authorities. The seven countries are Denmark, Malaysia, Kuwait, Holland, Philippines and South Africa and Thailand.


Russia’s former PM Yevgeny Primakov passes away

Former Prime minister Yevgeny Primakov passed away in Moscow after a prolonged illness. He was 85.

He had served as PM for just eight months between September 1998 and May 1999.

During his long political career, he also had served as Foreign Minister (1996 to 1998), Speaker of the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union (in 1989) and chief of the intelligence service. Prior to Gulf war, he had played a prominent role in negotiations with former dictator of Iraq Saddam Hussein.

Primakov was born in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev in 1929 in erstwhile Soviet Union. He had studied Arabic at the Moscow Institute for Oriental Studies. Prior joining politics, he had worked as a journalist for Soviet radio and for Pravda newspaper as a Middle Eastern correspondent.


Overall stockpile of nuclear weapon diminishes: Stockholm Peace Institute

As per recently published Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) Yearbook 2015, the number of nuclear weapons in the world decreased in 2015.

The overall stockpile of nuclear weapons has declined to 15,850 in early 2015 from 16,350 in early 2014.

Key facts from SIPRI yearbook

  • Main countries possessing nuclear warheads are modernizing their arsenal.
  • Reason behind the decrease in the number of nuclear warheads is because of reduction of them from two main nuclear powers United States and Russia.
  • Currently Russia has 7,500 number of nuclear warheads compared to 8,000 in 2014. While, US had 7,260 nuclear warheads compared to 7,300 in 2014.
  • Till date nine countries possesses approximately around 15, 850 nuclear weapons.
  • They are United States, Russia, United Kingdom, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea.
  • Of these all nuclear weapons around 1800 weapons are kept in a state of high operational alert.