National Bank of Abu Dhabi, UAE’s biggest bank, has been granted a banking licence to operate in India. The bank is expected to begin operations this year. An Indian bank is expected to be allowed to set up a branch in the UAE in reciporcation and State Bank of India could be the likely bank. NBAD’s chief executive officer Alex Thursby had outlined plans last year to expand and build expertise in eight foreign banking centres, including one in Mumbai. India is the UAE’s biggest economic partner with $68.5 billion of trade between the two in 2013 and Indians make up the largest share of the oil-rich country’s 8.3 million population. Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, the UAE’s fourth-biggest bank, and Dubai-based Mashreqbank, owned by the billionaire Al Ghurair family, are the only UAE lenders to have Indian banking licences, having started their operations in 1980.