The Indian government Friday said the state-owned bank, Punjab National Bank, has applied for opening branches in Pakistan and is awaiting approval from the competent authority.
“Punjab National Bank has applied for opening of two branches in Pakistan, one each in Lahore and Karachi, but these branches have not been approved by the competent authority,” Indian Minister of State for Finance Namo Narain Meena said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha, lower house of the Indian parliament.
No Indian bank has presence in Pakistan, he said. The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) had indicated to the Reserve Bank of India last month that Muslim Commercial Bank was also interested in opening a branch in India apart from two other Pakistani banks, Meena added.
RBI has advised SBP this month that banks from Pakistan may apply as per the extant policy for the presence of foreign banks in India. In reply to another question, Meena said under the aegis of the World Trade Organisation, India is committed to allow foreign banks to open 12 branches in a year.
“RBI may, however, go beyond the WTO commitments of 12 branch licences, if the foreign banks open offices in unbanked or under-banked areas,” he said.