Hampshire businesses have been urged to invest in one of the world’s fastest-growing markets.

Firms were urged to explore opportunities in India at a business conference at the Ageas Bowl in West End.

It comes as England and India square-off in the third Test match at the home of Hampshire Cricket.

But speakers told interested companies to act with caution and seek out advice before making any moves – although they dismissed corruption as a reason to avoid deals.

Keith Warburton, of Indian-based business development specialists Sannam S4, said: “I would like to say that corruption is a complete and utter myth in India but that is not the truth.

“However, it tends to be at the big business level and not the small and medium enterprises (SMEs). None of our clients have ever told us of experiencing any corruption.

“You may decide there are several reasons why you would not go into the Indian market but corruption should not be one.”

Amarjit Singh, head of Dutton Gregory’s India business group, said: “With the Bribery Act there are safeguards alr-eady built in and it extends to agents and dealings in other countries.

“You have to be on the front foot, but help is available if you comply with the legislation.”

Jojar Singh, of Lawcomm Solicitors, who helped organise the event, said British property developers should look at entering the Indian market.

He said: “I’m very keen on seeing a UK-based real estate and property developer going out to India, because my research shows there’s a need for property not created by Indian companies, because developers are often inexperienced, delivery is late and it is in less desirable locations.”

Kim Hayward, a partner at the Southampton branch of financial services company BDO, added: “The key message in everything we are saying today is consult and take advice from the start to the end.

“There is government encouragement for Plcs to export to India and that is great, but exporting is only part of what we should do.

“Businesses need to internationalise and consider putting branches and subsidiaries out there. Exporting is a good place to begin but business does not start and stop there.”

It was not all business though, as freight forwarder Chizzy Meka of Meccer Import Export Solutions scooped a pair of tickets to tomorrow’s day of play.

The event was organised by Hampshire Chamber of Commerce and featured representatives from the Hampshire Chamber Asian Network, and financial service company BDO.