LAHORE: India has not received any formal application from Pakistan banks to set up branches, though three of them, including Muslim Commercial Bank, have showed interest, a senior official said.
“Central banks of both the sides have in-principle agreed to permit banks to set up branches. Three Pakistan banks, including Muslim Commercial Bank, have expressed keenness, but India has not received any application till now,” a senior Indian official told PTI.
In August 2012, both the sides had agreed to issue full banking licences to two banks from each country.
The official said setting up of bank branches will help in facilitating bilateral trade and investment.
Commerce Secretary of Pakistan Qasim M Niaz said three banks are interested in opening branches in India.
From India, Punjab National Bank was interested in setting up branches in Pakistan, the official added.
Many Indian banks had operations in Pakistan before partition in 1947.
Punjab National Bank had its registered office in Lahore before independence. Oriental Bank of Commerce was established in Lahore in 1943. State Bank of India and Bank of India had their branches in Karachi and Lahore till 1965, when they were forced to close down following the war between the two countries.
Official trade between India and Pakistan has crossed USD 2.6 billion in 2012-13. India’s exports to Pakistan are worth USD 2.1 billion while Pakistan’s exports to India value at USD 500 million. To boost trade between India and Pakistan, a three-day India Show is being organised in the city from February 14.
The India Show 2014 is being organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Industry (FICCI) in partnership with Ministry of Commerce and Industry. Representatives of 100 companies from various sectors are participating in the event.