Marks & Spencer has outlined a “vision to build a leadership position” in India as it formally marked the opening of a flagship store in the country.

The new shop in Bandra, Mumbai is part of M&S and partner Reliance Retail’s programme to double the size of the Indian business to 80 stores by 2016. Eight new shops will open by the end of March 2014.

Trading from 35,000 sq ft over five floors, Bandra is M&S’s biggest shop in India and is the first store worldwide to showcase a new-look lingerie and beauty department. The Indian lingerie market was worth £1.8bn in 20012 and is expected to grow by 54% by 2017.

M&S chief executive Marc Bolland said: “India is a priority market for M&S and working with Reliance Retail we have set a clear plan to build a leadership position here.

“We have the ideal platform to accelerate our growth in the market and see India become our largest international market [by number of stores] outside the UK by 2016.”

M&S intends to develop clusters of shops in cities such as Mumbai and Delhi and will expand into “attractive” secondary cities such as Surat and Kanpur.

M&S, which has traded in India since 2001, signed a joint venture with Reliance in 2008.