India’ first Islamic bank to start in Gujarat, PM Modi’s friend Zafar Sareshwala leads the initiative


India’s first Islamic bank will start its operations in Gujarat and the person leading the initiative is none other than Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s friend, Zafar Sareshwala.

Saudi Arabia’s Islamic Development Bank will soon launch its first branch in Gujarat. The state will also get 30 medical vans as part of IDB’s social sector initiatives.

Sareshwala, also the Chancellor of Maulana Azad National Urdu University, was quoted by Times of India as saying, “IDB and its private sector arm, the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD), have already met with top officials of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), EXIM Bank and other nationalized banks. They are likely to start their India operations from Gujarat with a branch in Ahmedabad.”

The plans will come to fruition after Modi’s trip in April to UAE, where India’s EXIM Bank had signed a memorandum of understanding with IDB for a $100 million line-of-credit to facilitate exports to IDB’s member countries.

Sareshwala in Saudi Arabia
Sareshwala in Saudi Arabia

IDB will provide 350 fully-equipped medical vans (mobile clinics) to India, 30 of which will be received for the tribal areas of Chhota Udepur, Narmada and Bharuch in Gujarat, in the first phase.

The IDB is likely to get involved in taking care of the maintenance of Gujarat’s Waqf properties.

Sareshwala said, “There are a number of such properties in Gujarat. The properties stand neglected as Wakf Board or the concerned trusts do not have money to maintain these monuments. IDB is keen to finance projects under which these properties can be maintained and redeveloped.”

Sareshwala is currently visiting Saudi Arabia for this purpose.