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Finally global investors head to India’s northeast

Northeastern flavour: Korean investors visit Sikkim

After Japan, India’s northeastern states have caught the attention of domestic and foreign investors. A few Korean investors led by the Korean Trade Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA) have already begun touring Sikkim to identify concrete investment opportunities.

“The northeast is fast turning out to be a favourite investment destination for both domestic and international companies,” Deepak Bagla, MD and CEO, Invest India, the nodal body under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, facilitating fresh investment in the country.

The northeastern region, which holds opportunities in the hydropower sector, is also rich in spices, herb, bamboo, textile and jute among other things.

“There are major cost advantages for certain sectors such as jute, bamboo and food processing,” Bangla told India Narrative.

Bagla added that the availability of skilled labour is another advantage for companies.

The northeastern region, surrounded by Bhutan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Myanmar besides Tibet on all sides except a narrow corridor known as the Chicken’s neck near Siliguri, is strategically located connecting the rest of India to southeast Asia.

According to a Ficci report earlier, this region is rich in resources including  oil and gas, agri horticultural resources, mineral deposits with immense hydro-electric potential. “However, despite the abundance of resources, the region has lagged behind many Indian states in vital development indicators,” it said.

Meanwhile, in the first-ever visit to the northeast region, a high-level delegation of senior officials of the Korean Embassy, Korean Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA), Korea- startup Centre, K-sure, and Korea India Research & Innovation Center (KIRI) held a meeting with Bedu Singh Panth, Minister of Commerce and Industries in Gangtok on investment opportunities.

South Korea, which has traditionally invested in automotive, electronics, and chemical sectors since the 1990s is now planning to expand interest to various other industries such as pharmaceutical, energy, organic farming, food processing, and tourism.

“Korean companies tend to be bold and try to be preemptive, so Sikkim can be one of the favorable destinations considering its various potentials,” Moon Young Kim, Managing Director, KOTRA South Asia Region said.

“Based on this, we shall explore multiple opportunities with Korean companies operating in areas like renewable energy, pharmaceuticals, organic farming, food processing, and other sectors. We can leverage each other's strength for mutual benefit,” he said.

The Korean companies have shown a keen interest in investing in sectors such as renewable energy, pharmaceuticals, food processing, and tourism sector in Sikkim.

India continues to remain a hotspot for investors  

Investors– domestic and international—continue to remain optimistic about India’s growth potential despite the sudden spike in the number of Covid 19 cases in the country.

In an interview to PTI earlier this week, Deloitte CEO Punit Renjen said that the 21st century is "India’s century".

Sanjeev K. Ahuja, editor, Asian Community News (ACN), a platform, which tracks the south-east Asian community in India, said that most Korean and Japanese companies that are looking to invest in India are currently chalking out backend work.