The strategy was first announced more than three years ago but Tesco is now said to be focusing on an existing franchise scheme with Tata-owned company Trent's Star Bazaar store network, Indian newspaper Business Standard has said.

Earlier this year, officials in the Indian region of Karnataka refused to grant Tesco a licence to sell agricultural produce, including fruit and vegetables, due to pressure from traders, Asiafruit reported.

Tesco, which operates a total of 5,380 stores in 14 markets around the world, already has a sourcing office and a global support centre in Bangalore.

The group procures goods worth a total of £270m (€321.6m) from India.

Although the Indian government recently suspended its decision to allow 51 per cent foreign direct investment in multi-brand retail, there is currently no such restriction when it comes to cash-and-carry projects.