Tata Steel Image: Tata Steel

The UK should allow more skilled migrants into the country, the Indian High Commissioner has told the BBC.

In an interview ahead of a state visit from Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Ranjan Mathai told the BBC that despite the countries’ close ties, the UK and India have relatively low levels of trade.

"I think both Britain and India could do more to expand the trading opportunities," Mr Mathai said.

"If you look at the level of trade, and the level of investment, you see a major contrast.

"We are today the third largest investor in the UK, and the UK is the largest G20 investor in India, so investments have done well.

"When you talk of trade, we are still stuck at the level of around $18bn (£11.8bn), which is less than 2% for both of us of our global trade.

"So obviously there is much more that can be done."

Mr Mathahi also explained that restrictions on migration could hamper India's investment in the UK, an issue that Indian invested companies have raised with the British government.

He said: "I think in any two countries anywhere in the world, the ease of travelling between business partners is very significant."

"There are a large number of Indian investors here. According to some figures I have seen, there are 700 Indian companies invested in the UK, which provide around 100,000 jobs in this country.

"So I believe that if Indian companies face restrictions on their ability to have skilled people come, it could have an effect on the way they do business."