Boris Johnson in India

London Mayor Boris Johnson is on a six-day trip to India to promote business links with London

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Johnson urges India to relax laws

Mr Johnson said British businesses could actually save the Indian consumer money by selling on a much greater scale Credit: ITN/Simon Harris

British companies should have access to India's booming markets, Boris Johnson said today as he appealed to the country's government to relax strict laws designed to protect small businesses.

The London Mayor said British retailers, keen to sell to India's burgeoning middle-class, could actually help alleviate poverty by providing cheaper goods.

At the moment the likes of John Lewis, Sainsbury's, and Tesco are unable to access the Indian market because of strict laws preventing retailers from selling more than one branded product.

The law means high-end fashion labels such as Gucci or Prada can open boutiques in India because they only sell their own label.

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"Aerotropolis" plans for London

Boris Johnson addressed business leaders in Delhi

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Day 3: Boris Johnson tours India

London Mayor Johnson is greeted at the Amity University on the outskirts of New Delhi, Nov 26 Credit: VM/SU

Mayor Boris Johnson is on day three of a six day tour of India to promote business ties.

He will give a keynote address for a senior Indian business audience in Delhi before departing for Hyderabad.

Indian visas: Home Office statement

The Home Office has responded to Boris Johnson's calls for a change to visa rules, to allow Indian students to work after their UK study is over.

“The student visa regime we inherited was open to widespread abuse. It neither controlled immigration nor protected legitimate students from poor quality sponsors. Our radical reforms are tackling these problems head-on, while making sure Britain remains open for business. The UK has some of the very best universities in the world and talented international students are welcome here. Indeed, there is no limit on the number of students who can come to the UK.

Put simply, all those who can speak basic English and have sufficient funds and qualifications can come. And those who can get a graduate job earning more than £20,000 can stay to work after their studies. That is why it is no surprise that UCAS acceptances of international students are up 4% this year. As the Mayor of London has said ‘the vast majority of Indian students do get a visa, 75% of them get one pretty much straight off'”.

– Home Office spokesman
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