Sainsbury’s has insisted it has “no plans” to open stores in India following a claim from a local government minister the UK grocer was interested in entering the market.

India commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma was reported to have said Sainsbury’s was among a number of European retailers eyeing rolling out stores in the country.

“There have been expression of interest. The first step has been taken by Tesco, by Sainsbury’s. There has also been an expression of interest but not a formal proposal, from Carrefour, H&M. So they all are coming,” Sharma said, according to India’s The Economic Times newspaper.

India is relaxing laws on foreign investment in the country’s retail sector. The country’s government recently introduced proposals allowing foreign companies to own up to 51% of multi-brand retail businesses.

Sainsbury’s, however, was quick to rebuff Sharma’s claims. “We source a wide range of products from India and have recently applied to open a sourcing office there, pending approval from the Indian authorities. However we have no plans to open retail stores in India, as we are continuing to focus on growing our business in the UK.”