UK Markets close in 7 hrs 51 mins

PM Heads Largest Ever Trade Mission To India

(c) Sky News 2013

David Cameron has arrived in India where he is heading the largest ever trade delegation to travel overseas with a British Prime Minister.

Mr Cameron is anxious to drum up the prospects for business deals, but knows that there is a risk that his trip will be clouded by corruption allegations surrounding the sale of luxury AgustaWestland helicopters to India.

The Indian media and political arena has been dominated for days by a corruption probe, which has led to arrests in Italy where AgustaWestland's parent company Finmeccanica (Other OTC: FINMF - news) is under investigation.

The Prime Minister knows there is a risk that the deal - which has already been part-completed - could end up cancelled, but is anxious to ensure his schedule is not derailed by the helicopter affair.

On arrival Mr Cameron travelled to Mumbai for a day of business-focused meetings ahead of talks with the Indian Prime Minister and President in Delhi.

Mr Cameron has frequently stressed the value he places on working to improve the UK's trade  relationships overseas.

Among the party of more than 100 joining Mr Cameron are representatives of major companies like Rolls-Royce, BAE Systems (LSE: BA.L - news) and BP (LSE: BP.L - news) , small businesses, universities, football's Premier League, the London Underground and nine parliamentarians.

On this trip he is likely to suggest that the relationship with India had been neglected under the previous Labour government, but that it is a priority for the current government.

Before the visit he told the Hindustan Times: "Frankly, Britain did neglect this relationship during the first decade of this century," he said.

"But under my Government we're determined to turn that around.

"Trade grew at over 20% in 2010 and 2011. We're reaching out beyond the biggest cities, with the biggest diplomatic footprint of any country in India."

Ministers have set themselves a target of doubling bilateral trade over the course of the parliament, but the speed of growth in India is such that Mr Cameron knows opportunities to trade are continuing to expand above expectations; and UK ministers and companies alike need to be ready to take advantage.

He has also indicated that he is planning to relax visa requirements to attract Indian business visitors to the UK.

Asked by the Hindustan Times about business concerns about the difficulty of obtaining UK visas, Mr Cameron said: "I think there's more we can do here and that's an area where I hope we can put an even more attractive offer on the table during this trip."