India picks private banker KV Kamath as first BRICS bank head

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NEW DELHI  – India has named private banker K.V. Kamath as the first head of a new development being set up by the BRICS group of emerging market economies, Finance Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi told reporters on .

The BRICS – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – agreed to set up the $100 billion development bank last July, in a step toward reshaping the Western-dominated international financial system.

It was agreed that the New Development Bank, which will infrastructure projects in developing nations, would be based in Shanghai. It would be headed by an Indian for a first five-year term, followed by a Brazilian and then a Russian.

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“Kamath has been appointed as the head of the BRICS bank, the appointment will become effective when he becomes free from his current assignments,” Mehrishi told reporters in New Delhi.

Kamath, 67, is a veteran banker was credited developing ICICI Bank into India’s second-largest lender. He headed the bank for 13 years until 2009 and is now its non-executive chairman.

He is also non-executive chairman of India’s second-biggest software services exporter Infosys.

A spokeswoman for China’s Foreign said on that Beijing welcomed and “fully supported” the appointment.

Atul Tiwari, a senior official in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s office, said India has conveyed the decision to nominate Kamath for the BRICS bank presidency to partner countries.

“They have been notified about it,” Tiwari said. “There is no scope for any partner country to raise an objection to Mr. Kamath’s appointment because it was already decided that India will choose the first BRICS bank head.”

(Reporting by Rajesh Kumar Singh, Rupam Jain Nair and Manoj Kumar; Additional reporting by Megha Rajagopalan in BEIJING; Editing by Douglas Busvine, Muralikumar Anantharaman and Jacqueline Wong)