"Our committed mission is to scale up the investments and once we build the brand, we will go for subsidiary...that is the commitment we made to the RBI. We will be converting into subsidiary in the near future," bank's CEO R Seetharaman told reporters after launching the first branch.
     
He did not divulge how long the process will take. The RBI, in November 2013, had released a framework for large foreign banks with over 20 branches to convert into wholly-owned subsidiaries.

The foreign banks which move to a wholly-owned subsidiary route will be given near-national treatment apart from capital gains tax and stamp duty benefits, it said.

Doha Bank has presence in 15 countries.  Seetharaman said considering the huge size of Indian
market, rising per capita income and business-friendly policies, the country is an essential and strategic location.

"By establishing a branch in India, it's a commitment to promote bilateral trades and bring in investments. There is huge opportunities which lies between the Gulf states and India to bring investments," he said.

To start with, the bank will focus on wholesale, retail and treasury areas. It will also tie up with various financial institutions for its business growth.
     
"With our vertical opportunities, we don't need to create our own delivery channel. There are NBFC and specialised SME service providers who have constraints in terms of lending because they have capital constraints. We don't have capital constraints. We are going to work with multiple financial institutions," he said.
     
When asked whether the bank will be looking at the acquisition route to increase its presence in the country, Seetharaman said it continues to remain an option. "I am not ruling out because we need to scale up Indian brand equity," he said.

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