India on Thursday said it is considering to allow foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail and defense sectors as part of its efforts to step up foreign investments into the country.

India has remained one of the most attractive destinations for foreign investment even during the global economic crisis, said Anand Sharma, Indian commerce and industry minister at an event in New Delhi.

He said Indian government aims to attract foreign direct investment of $250 billion into the country in the next five years, which is considered an ambitious target in the wake of India receiving cumulative FDI of $124 billion into equity during the last decade.

For the April-November 2010-11 fiscal year, foreign direct investment inflows into the country fell 27 percent at $14 billion over the same period last year.

“We have an investor-friendly policy regime,” said Sharma.

Kim Jong-Hoon, South Korean trade minister, who was in New Delhi to review the India-South Korea Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement signed a year ago, said huge business opportunities were available for Indian and Korean companies in their respective regions.

Against a fixed bilateral trade target of $30 billion by 2014 which both the ministers feel is achievable following the implementation of the free trade pact, two-way trade between India and Korea grew by about 45 percent during January-November 2010 period to $15.6 billion.

Korean trade minister Hoon said there is a need to set up some more Korean bank branches in India to facilitate Korean businesses in India. ...we do need some more banking services (which are) very familiar with Korean business and that's why I would like to ask your government to give a good consideration to give some more permissions to Korean banks to open their offices here, Hoon said.

India has got two applications from South Korea to open bank branches in southern Indian city of Chennai, Sharma said.

I have talked to our officials and we will find a way how to facilitate the approvals required (for) the two Korean banks which have asked for approvals to set base in Chennai... at the earliest, he said.