Theresa May eyes a prize in the Delhi smog

Credit: PA

Theresa May will have to find her way through a fair amount of smog today - both literally and metaphorically. She's arrived in Delhi just as the city experiences the worst air pollution in decades. Not the best backdrop as she attempts to set out a clear vision of what our relationship with India should look like once we've left the EU.

But this morning she attempted some clarity on what Britain wants from one of our oldest friends. With a market of 1.2 billion people, India is the world's fastest growing economy. Not something to be sniffed at in a post-Brexit world.

Of course the details of the free trade deal our Prime Minister aspires to sign can't be officially fleshed out until we leave the EU. But this morning she talked of "barriers" that can be taken down here and now.

And the Indian government certainly has one big suggestion. What India wants more than anything is easier visa access for its citizens. A third of all UK visas granted go to Indian students, workers and tourists every year, but just last week the British government tightened the rules, and India isn't impressed.

India wants easier visa access for its citizens. Credit: PA

Which is why it's slightly confusing that Theresa May is talking today of opening up the system. She's announced two measures which she claims will make travel simpler. But while the changes will speed up the process of applying for a visa and passing through an airport for a selective few, Mrs May's spokeswoman was clear yesterday that the government is not intending to increase the numbers of visas overall.

That is likely to be the sticking point in discussions this afternoon. It is exactly the same issue the EU has been struggling to agree with India - for nine years now.

Mrs May will be keen for a quick win. She wants to present Britain as open for business, a country forging new trading relationships around the world. But as open as she might claim to be, on the other side of the smog, India still sees a relatively closed border impermeable to too many of its citizens.