Fashion retailer Zara is poised to open its first stores in India after parent company Inditex signed a joint venture agreement with local operator the Tata Group.

The deal sees Inditex take a 51% stake in the new venture, with Tata company Trent Limited controlling the remaining 49%.

The new partnership is aiming to open its first Zara stores in 2010, in New Delhi, Mumbai and other major cities in India.

"We see great opportunities for Zara in a country which is becoming increasingly fashion-conscious," said Noel N Tata, managing director of Trent Limited.

"Zara has proven itself capable of quickly adapting to changing consumer tastes across geographies. This association with brand Zara is our endeavour to bring a world-class brand and experience to fashion-conscious Indians."

Inditex deputy chairman and CEO Pablo Isla said he viewed Zara's entry into the Indian market as "of significant strategic importance".

He added: "Our retail offering has been very well received by shoppers in Asian markets, and we have rapidly expanded there. And now India will be one of our top priorities in the region."