US supermarket chain Wal-Mart has signed a deal with Bharti Enterprises in India which would allow the firm to gain a foothold in the Indian market.
Bharti is one of south Asia's leading telecommunications companies with about 28 million customers in India and the Seychelles under its flagship brand Airtel. It also has divisions in customer management services, food export and telecom equipment.
The firm's chief executive officer Sunil Mittal told reporters that Bharti had signed with Wal-Mart to set up a joint venture between the two companies but did not divulge financial information.
Although foreign companies are not allowed to set up multi-product retail stores in India they are not barred from the wholesale market.
Mr Mittal added: "Wal-Mart was keen to get into India. I think they have chosen the right partner. We are going to be a big player in this market."
Wal-Mart, which owns the UK superstore chain Asda, already operates in 13 markets outside the US with about 176 million customers worldwide each week.
The Bharti chief added added that he hoped to see "several hundred" stores in India under the joint Wal-Mart name. Wal-Mart itself has not commented on the deal so far.