David Cameron has started his three-day trade visit to India with an address to a business delegation in Mumbai.

The prime minister said he is "proud" to be spearheading the largest trade delegation which has been taken overseas by any prime minister. This is Cameron's second visit to India as prime minister. He is joined by nine parliamentarians from across the parties.

Addressing the delegation, Cameron said: "It's fantastic to be back in Mumbai. I am very proud of the fact that I have been prime minister for two and half years and this is my second visit to India. I want Britain and India to have a very special relationship."

He added: "India's rise is going to be one of the great phenomena of this century and it is incredibly impressive to see the vibrancy of your democracy, the great strength of the diversity of your country, and the enormous power of your economy. It is going to be one of the top three economies by 2030. And that's why I am here. Britain wants be the partner of your choice."

Cameron recalled the cultural and historical ties binding the two countries. He said that Britain and India have only "just started on the sort of partnership that we could build".

Pledging that his visit will go "way beyond business," he said he was "excited" by the future of the relationship between the countries.

In a bid to boost bilateral trade between the UK and one of the fastest-growing economies, Cameron will use this opportunity to meet top political leaders and business tycoons in India.

Cameron will urge New Delhi to open up the economy further in order to allow foreign retailers including Britain's Tesco.

The prime minister is accompanied by more than 100 representatives of companies which include Rolls-Royce, BAE Systems and BP. Scores of delegates from universities and small businesses have also joined Cameron. Cameron will meet his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh and Indian President Pranab Mukherjee.

His visit comes days after French President Francois Hollande made a trip to the country with a similar trade mission.

Cameron's visit has come at a time when India is grappling with a defence scandal over a helicopter deal with the Italian company AgustaWestland.